A view of the United Nations headquarters in New York (file photo)
123 member states of the United Nations (UN) had announced in October
last year that they would launch a UN conference to negotiate a
legally-binding nuclear ban treaty. The initiative is scheduled to be
launched at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday.
The countries leading the effort include Austria, Ireland, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, and Sweden.
of NGOs have announced their support for the initiative as well. They
say recent world developments, including North Korea’s standoff with the
West and the unpredictability of the foreign policy of the new US
administration, have raised concerns about a nuclear conflict.
Meanwhile, major nuclear powers have rejected the initiative.
Britain, France, Russia, and the United States voted no to the
initiative, while China, India and Pakistan abstained during
deliberations last year.
The Israeli regime, too, which is the only entity in the Middle East to possess atomic bombs, has also objected to the move.
supporters of the initiative for a global nuclear ban point to
successful grassroots movements in the past that led to the prohibition
of landmines in 1997 and cluster munitions in 2008. They say, however,
that approving the nuclear ban would take time.
“I expect that
this will take a long time,” Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom
said at the UN last week. “But it’s very important in these days when
you see more of this rhetoric, and also sort of power demonstrations,
including threatening to use nuclear weapons.”
No progress has
been made on nuclear disarmament in recent years despite commitments
made by the major nuclear powers to work toward disarmament under the
1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), said Beatrice Fihn, the director of
the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
Fihn believes there is a “good chance” a treaty will be eventually
adopted due to the successful experience from the past campaigns against
cluster munitions and landmines.