The international responsibility for nuclear disarmament - Joint NGO Statement to NPT States Parties

May 12, 2020

Peace Boat joined more than 80 civil society organisations in endorsing a joint statement addressed to the states parties of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A diverse network of national and international peace and nuclear disarmament groups are urging government leaders, particularly from the nuclear-armed states and their allies, to act with greater urgency and cooperation to meet unfulfilled promises to reduce nuclear risks and advance progress on disarmament, and to realise their commitment to the “complete elimination of nuclear weapons.”

The statement was released on May 11, the 25th anniversary of the package of decisions that led to the indefinite extension of the Treaty in 1995, and following the postponement of the Treaty's 2020 Review Conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 12-page statement was coordinated by Reaching Critical Will of WILPF, and Peace Boat's Kawasaki Akira was part of the drafting committee.

The groups endorsing the statement underline that one of the many lessons to be learned from the pandemic is that "science must not be ignored under the guise of 'national security' policies that put profit before people and privilege the most powerful."  

“We’re not only at a pivotal point in the struggle against the fast-moving coronavirus; we are also at a tipping point in the long-running effort to reduce the threat of nuclear war and eliminate nuclear weapons. Tensions between the world’s nuclear-armed states are rising; the risk of nuclear use is growing; billions of dollars are being spent to replace and upgrade nuclear weapons; and key agreements that have kept nuclear competition in check are in serious jeopardy."

“This environment,” the organisations write, “demands bolder action from all states to reduce nuclear risks by eliminating nuclear weapons; action that is rooted in ‘deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons'."

The statement refers to the importance of the solemn 75th anniversary this year of the atomic bombings by the United States of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the need to promote education on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons as a core component of disarmament and non-proliferation education, as well as more support for youth-led initiatives.

This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War, and the statement emphasises that now is the time to take the steps necessary to formally bring an end to the state of war and to realise a nuclear-weapons-free Korean peninsula.

The full statement and list of endorsing organisations can be viewed here. With thanks to Reaching Critical Will for coordination of the statement and for much of this text.