By Paul Meyer | Published in OpenCanada.org on 5 July 2017
This Friday, July 7, should mark the conclusion of negotiations at United Nations headquarters on the world’s first treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. The 130 states engaged in the process have converged their positions over four weeks of negotiation this year in order to produce a concise agreement that fills the “legal gap” in the international nuclear order. That order is encapsulated in the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that forbids acquisition of nuclear weapons by non-nuclear states and commits the five nuclear weapon states — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — to eventual disarmament. The NPT however failed to prohibit possession or use of nuclear weapons and, despite its 47 years of existence, has been unable to bring about nuclear disarmament.
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- General Lee Butler: from Cold Warrior to Outspoken Disarmer
- What You can do today: Let your views be known by phone to: Global Affairs Canada. Ask to speak with Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister. 613.992.5234
- The 81-year-old woman inspiring a nation to recycle
- 110 recipients of the Order of Canada called on the Prime Minister to support UN negotiations to rid the world of nuclear weapons
- Afghanistan authorities make progress in fight against corruption
- UN Women's Executive Board visits Women's work in Rural India
- Mexican Senate approves new law on disappearances of women
- RWANU helps Ugandan women grab life by the horns
- Iranian President Rohani Wins Re-election in a Landslide - a Blow to Hardliners
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The release of a draft of a UN agreement to ban nuclear weapons provides further momentum for the effort to stave off one of humanity’s greatest threats.
Published 31 May 2017 in The Hill Times, p.20.
By Douglas Roche
Leaders of the Canadian government who in the past few months have contented themselves with vapid excuses for not supporting efforts at the United Nations to prohibit nuclear weapons will have to work overtime to find credible reasons to maintain resistance, now that the draft text of a convention has been released.
The heart of the matter is contained in Article 1 (a), in which each state party undertakes never under any circumstances to “develop, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess, or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”
In other words, nuclear weapons are stigmatized, put beyond the pale, and never to be a part of a nation’s armoury. The Canadian government, tied so closely to the nuclear policies of Washington and NATO, will not accept this. The integrity of the Canadian position that it really wants to do away with nuclear weapons, but not just yet, is in tatters.
Published 20 March 2017 at https://www.sipri.org/commentary/essay/2017/2017-year-which-nuclear-weapons-could-be-banned
At the end of 2016, the General Assembly of the United Nations voted by a large majority (Resolution 71/258 of 23 December 2016) to convene in 2017 a UN conference to negotiate a ‘legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination’. The result of the vote was 113 in favour, 35 against and 13 abstentions. Four of the five nuclear weapon states—France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States—voted against, along with the majority of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) states plus Australia, Israel, Japan and South Korea, all of which rely on US nuclear guarantees. Interestingly, North Korea voted in favour. Those abstaining included China (the only nuclear weapon state that did not vote against), India, the Netherlands, Pakistan and Switzerland.