Press release – for immediate release
New York: PNND Global Coordinator and Member of the World Future Council, Alyn Ware, presented at this side event, organized by PNND and the WFC, which took place during the NPT Preparatory Committee Meeting at the United Nations headquarters. >>
Nuclear security means one law for all
Statement by World Future Council Members and Right Livelihood Laureates calling on world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit to take steps to achieve a sustainable global security through the abolition of nuclear weapons and the phase out of nuclear energy
We applaud the fact that the 58 world leaders, 5,000 delegates and 3,000 journalists will come to the Hague March 24-25 for the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in order to address a very real threat to humanity and the environment, now and into the future.
We support the NSS objective of governments, scientists, law-makers and civil society cooperating to ensure that nuclear materials and technology are under safer and more secure control to prevent the possibility of them being used to make a nuclear device – no matter how crude – and then using this device.
However, the world leaders participating in the Summit should take this opportunity to build sustainable global security by adopting common standards for all, committing to the global prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, and beginning a phase-out of nuclear energy.
NSS Secretary-General, Renée Jones-Bos, is correct in quoting U.S. President Obama’s statement from Prague 2009, that “In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up.”
Unfortunately the governments attending appear unwilling to take the necessary steps to prevent with certainty such a catastrophic use of nuclear weapons.
They are focusing on only one small part of the problem – the acquisition of nuclear weapons or fissile materials by non-State actors – rather than on the larger and more dangerous problems of the possession of over 17,000 nuclear weapons by the nine nuclear armed States, the operational readiness to use many of these weapons within minutes on launch-on-warning policies, the deployment of nuclear weapons to other countries – including the Netherlands where the Summit is taking place, and the continued reliance by some countries on nuclear energy technologies, which fuel nuclear proliferation and create risks of further accidents like those at Chernobyl and Fukushima.
NSS Secretary-General Renée Jones-Bos makes clear the limited focus of the Summit when he says “To be clear, the NSS is not about non-proliferation. It’s about rogue nuclear material. It’s about ensuring that such material does not fall into the wrong hands.”
With regard to nuclear weapons, there are no right hands. The International Court of Justice in The Hague, confirmed in 1996 that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is generally illegal, regardless of who would possess or use such weapons, and that there is an obligation to achieve complete nuclear disarmament.
It’s ironic that this Summit is being held in The Hague, but appears to be ignoring the legal imperative from the highest court in the world situated in the same city. Applying the law against nuclear weapons only to some people (non-State actors) but not to others (State actors) is unsustainable and runs counter to the basis of law, that it should apply equally to all.
We thus support the call from parliamentarians and civil society for world leaders to add nuclear disarmament to the agenda of the Nuclear Security Summits, or to establish a similar high level process to achieve the secure, verified elimination of nuclear weapons.
In addition, the proliferation and environmental risks of nuclear energy can only be eliminated with the phase-out of nuclear energy. Since 1970, countries that have joined the nuclear club have done so through the development first of nuclear energy, and then have used the fissile materials, nuclear technology and know-how from nuclear energy to develop nuclear weapons.
In an age when energy efficiency and safe, sustainable renewable technologies are developing to meet global energy needs, a phase-out of nuclear energy over time is both feasible and imperative.
The World Future Council Members and Right Livelihood Laureates listed below call on governments attending the Nuclear Security Summit to be courageous, honest and responsible and thus raise these issues vital to the safety and security of current and future generations.
Geneva: Disarmament Coordinator Rob van Riet spoke at a side event of the 130th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, in a discussion on the humanitarian dimension of nuclear weapons abolition, contributing in particular knowledge of exemplary policies in the field as highlighted by the 2013 Future Policy Award. >>
Press release – for immediate release
Stockholm/Hamburg, March 20, 2014 – In a joint statement 38 recipients of the Right Livelihood Award and members of the World Future Council are calling on world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit to acknowledge that, for nuclear weapons, there are “no right hands”.
“Climbing the Mountain: Legislators collaborating on bilateral, plurilateral and global measures towards a secure nuclear-weapons-free world.” Disarmament coordinator Rob van Riet joined WFC Councillor Alyn Ware in a discussion of exemplary disarmament policies highlighted by the 2013 Future Policy Award. >>
Since the beginning of the Nuclear Age, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament have been officially recognized by all States as critical goals. The United Nations General Assembly’s first ever resolution – adopted on 24 January 1946 – set forth the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and other weapons “adaptable to mass destruction.” In 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which stated the hope that “measures leading towards the goal of general and complete disarmament under effective international control will be worked out in detail and agreed upon in the shortest possible time.” At its first Special Session on Disarmament in 1978, the General Assembly declared “general and complete disarmament” the international community’s “ultimate objective,” and proclaimed nuclear disarmament its “highest priority.”
Article VI of the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) affirms that all States Parties should undertake “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
In its 1996 landmark Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, the International Court of Justice (ICJ)—the UN’s highest judicial authority—interpreted this article as entailing “an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”
Following up on the ICJ Opinion, the UN General Assembly has adopted every year beginning in 1996 a resolution calling upon all States immediately to fulfill the disarmament obligation unanimously affirmed by the ICJ by commencing multilateral negotiations “leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention prohibiting the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons and providing for their elimination.” In 2010, the resolution was adopted by a vote of 133 to 28, with 23 abstentions, the most support hitherto.
Similarly, the 2000 UN General Assembly Resolution, Towards a Nuclear Weapon-Free World: The Need for a New Agenda, “calls upon the Nuclear-Weapon States to make an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the speedy and total elimination of their nuclear arsenals and to engage without delay in an accelerated process of negotiations, thus achieving nuclear disarmament, to which they are committed under article VI of the NPT.” It received overwhelming support with 154 in favor (including China, the United Kingdom and the United States), 3 against, and 8 abstentions.
The commitment to nuclear disarmament has been echoed in numerous other UN resolutions and international treaties. It has also been reiterated in the consensus final documents of NPT Review Conferences, including quite forcefully in the most recent one. Even the UN Security Council—which counts the recognized Nuclear Weapon States under the NPT as its permanent members—adopted in 2009 a Resolution, which calls upon all States to undertake in good faith negotiations on nuclear disarmament, and invites non NPT-parties to “join the endeavor.”
Senate of France: Coordinator of the Peace and Disarmament Programme, Rob van Riet discussed the application of International Humanitarian Law to Nuclear Weapons and how it could give impetus to efforts to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.
Disarmament is vital to achieving crucial peace, development and security goals. The 2013 Future Policy Award celebrates policies that have distinctly advanced sustainable disarmament.
This year, 25 policies from 15 countries and six regions were nominated. As well as representing all continents, the policies display the diversity of the disarmament theme, targeting small arms and light weapons, nuclear weapons, cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines, among others.