The International Day was established by UN General Assembly Resolution 68/32 in order to enhance ‘public awareness and education about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination, in order to mobilize international efforts towards achieving the common goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.’
The United Nations kicked off the first of numerous events and actions around the world with a commemorative event at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on September 25. The event was organised by UNFOLD ZERO, the Basel Peace Office and the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs, and was cosponsored by OPANAL, the Permanent Missions of Indonesia, Kazakhstan and New Zealand, and nearly 100 non-governmental organisations and networks engaged in peace, disarmament, human rights, environment, interfaith, democracy and sustainable development.
Mr Michael Moller opening the UN Commemoration event
Following his opening comments, Mr Moller was presented with joint statements supporting the day by parliamentarians from the European Parliament, Parliament of Japan and Parliament of the Republic of Korea. The European Parliament statement was signed by parliamentarians from six of the seven political groups. The Japanese and Korean statements were signed by parliamentarians from both government and opposition parties. The Japanese parliament statement was also presented to Ambassador Toshio Sano the Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN in Geneva (See Parliamentarians support Sep 26 through joint actions and social media).
Alyn Ware presents the parliamentary statements to Mr Moller and Ambassador Sano
Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the UN, called for the start of multilateral negotiations now on a nuclear weapons convention, package of agreements or framework agreement, in order to prohibit nuclear weapons and provide for their elimination. He also called for support for the Mexican initiative to criminalise the use of nuclear weapons by including such use as a war crime under the jurisdiction of the International criminal Court.
Ambassador Lomónaco and Ms Kraatz-Wadsack
Ambassador Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the UN, reported on the example of Kazakhstan which renounced the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal – and whose security was in no way diminished by this decision. 'This shows that other nuclear-armed States could also renounce nuclear weapons without negative consequences on their security,' he said. Ambassador Tileuberdi highlighted some initiatives of Kazakhstan such as the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, a draft Universal Declaration for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, and the ATOM Project which has generated nearly 100,000 signatures for their petition against nuclear tests and for a nuclear weapon free world. The petition will be presented to the leaders of the nuclear-armed States in the near future.
Ambassador Tileuberdi and Ambassador Wibowo
Mr Aaron Tovish, Campaign Director for Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign, spoke about the decision of the UN General Assembly to follow-up the 2013 High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament with an even more ambitious High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament to be held no later than 2018. Mr Tovish noted that this conference could provide the best opportunity to achieve concrete results – not just a review of progress, not just a reaffirmation of commitments, but the adoption of actual multilateral measures that will pave the way for comprehensive nuclear disarmament. Mr Tovish noted that Mayors for Peace, numbering over 6000 cities, was determined to make this high level conference a success. ‘Cities were not build up over the ages to be obliterated in nuclear firestorms, nor to suffer the impacts of global famine from the catastrophic climatic consequences of the use of just a small number of these weapons.’
Mr Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament and Co-founder of UNFOLD ZERO, reported on the widespread support for the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons from civil society, evidenced by the co-sponsorship of this commemoration event from organisations and networks engaged in peace, disarmament, human rights, environment, interfaith, democracy and sustainable development from around the world.
UNFOLD ZERO Sep 26 Global Action video
Mariano Alvarez Wagner and Anda Filip
Alfred de Zayas
Ivor Fung and Gabrielle Kraatz-Wadsack
This article was originally published by UNFOLD Zero: http://www.unfoldzero.org/disarm-must-be-present-tense-says-senior-un-rep-geneva