ICAN campaigners react to their countries’ statements at the HLM
October 1, 2013
Mexico announced the hosting of the follow-up conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, noted the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the success of the Oslo conference in bringing this reality to the light, expressed support for the creation of a legal instrument that would outlaw nuclear weapons and praised the role of civil society in nuclear disarmament efforts.
“Ahead of us we have a very exciting time, when WE CAN push for a meaningful participation of as many States as possible in the Nayarit conference, keeping our voices loud for them to keep at the top of their agendas the need to prohibit nuclear weapons now! May the February event be a decisive step for States and societies from around the world to realize the importance to count with a treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons once and for all.”
Hector Guerra, Mexico
The United Kingdom delivered a statement on behalf of the P3 (United Kingdom, United States, France) which expressed “regret” for the “humanitarian consequences campaign” and claimed that “that energy would have much better effect if channelled toward existing processes”.
“So many states at the High-level Meeting expressed concerns about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. It’s unacceptable for the UK to continue ignoring them. The step-by-step approach favoured by nuclear armed states like the UK is out of step with much of the rest of the world, which is impatient for a ban on nuclear weapons.”
Rebecca Sharkey, UK
Brazil noted that the Oslo conference last March emphasised that the use of nuclear weapons would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences and asserted “its firm support to the early commencement of negotiations of a clear, legally binding and multilateral commitment, on the part of all States, to nuclear disarmament, with clearly defined benchmarks and timelines.”
“Brazil did assert their humanitarian principles and showed that it is ready to eliminate the worst bomb ever made. I hope other states follow the same path.”
Cristian Wittmann, Brazil
Ireland stated that the focus on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons would strengthen and support the principles of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, noting that the human approach is “written into the DNA” of the NPT.
Ireland’s statement at the High Level Meeting shows that non-nuclear-weapons states are no longer allowing the possessors of nuclear weapons to control the agenda of nuclear disarmament. Recognition of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons by states like Ireland is a welcome step towards making acceptance of the necessity of abolishing nuclear weapons indisputable and universal. The evidence is inescapable.”
David Hutchinson, Ireland
Austria denounced the status quo, stating that the nuclear weapons discourse has for too long been dominated by traditional national security considerations and the “collective efforts to move away from the nuclear abyss have remained too modest in ambition and brought only limited success.” Austria also noted the importance of the Oslo conference in laying out the evidence of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons which would not be constrained by national borders. To conclude, President Fischer, who delivered the statement, urged for nuclear weapons to be “stigmatized, banned and eliminated before they abolish us.”
“Federal President Fischer mentioned the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of a possible nuclear weapons detonation as well as the vision of a world without nuclear weapons. He also acknowledged the importance of the work done by non-governmental organizations like ours. This shows us, that our efforts are not for nothing! The time for starting multilateral negotiations for a legally binding instrument to ban nuclear weapons has obviously come. Therefore we are looking forward to Mexico 2014. To say it in the words of our Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer: ‘Nuclear weapons should be stigmatized, banned and eliminated before they abolish us’. This is completely what we want too. The sooner the better!”
Christian Ehn, Austria
Nigeria delivered a strong statement and denounced the possession of nuclear weapons as unacceptable. FM HE Prof. Viola Onwuliri acknowledged the inability of relief agencies to respond if a nuclear disaster should happen noting that, “we have witnessed the pain of natural disasters and the miseries they unleash on States all over the world, including the costs of recovery and rehabilitation […] But we are also aware that unlike natural disasters, [in the event of a nuclear detonation] adequate humanitarian response might not be possible”. In view of this zero tolerance should be extended to nuclear weapons.
“I am happy to declare that the stage is set for Nigeria as a leading African country to once again display her total support for the call to ban nuclear weapons. Nigeria is seriously concerned about humanitarian consequences of a nuclear weapon detonation, hence its full participation at the 2013 Oslo conference, the full support and drive for the South Africa joint statement at the NPT in Geneva, recent membership of the NPDI and the clear statement to the UNGA in New York. As we look forward to Mexico 2014 conference, Nigeria’s role in achieving total ban will be evident as the country rallies the support of countries in the continent.” Rev. Kolade Fadahunsi, Nigeria