A report from Arielle Denis, Amela Skiljan und Reiner Braun actually in New York:
Historical : The courage to ban the bomb!
Today, as a result of a resolution supported by the overwhelming majority of States and after years and years of civil society advocacy, the negotiations over “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons and lead to their total elimination” started in the UN headquarters in New York. This historical achievement will create a clear stigma on the worst weapons ever conceived, at a time where all the nuclear weapons possessors are planning their modernization, despite their outrageous cost, in times of economic crisis and desperately needed resources when 20 millions of people are threaten from starvation in the coming weeks and months.
In this first day, the master word is courage: courage of those more than one hundred states who stand together and start negotiating a strong and clear prohibition of nuclear weapons despite the powerful nuclear-armed states which have done everything to prevent these negotiations to occur; courage of thousands of activists around the world who have stand together for years protesting against these inhumane weapons, scientists, youth’s groups, women’s groups, physicians, Nobel peace laureates, victims of the bombs, peace activists, educators, they have all paved the road for such a day to happen.
At the start of the conference, this morning, the United States of Mr. Trump together with the UK and France organised a press conference outside of the Conference room, to explain why they were boycotting the negotiations: difficult not to see how clear is their will to hold these weapons forever and that they have absolutely no plans for their elimination. This is such a strange return of history, the tenants of nuclear weapons staying outside the room while over a hundred states and civil society organisations prepare a nuclear free future!
As always, the International Peace Bureau will be participating all through the negotiations: “ What we need is to get a simple, efficient, and quick treaty, with a specific mention on the prohibition on financing nuclear weapons, which will be particularly helpful to work on the stigmatization of this –soon- prohibited weapons in nuclear states and umbrella states “, said Reiner Braun, IPB Co-President, who just completed a six weeks tour in the U.S.
On this fist day, States discussed the procedures and the spirit of the treaty. The complete elimination of nuclear weapons by the states that posses them will not happen immediately after their prohibition, but prohibition has always been a crucial step towards weapons elimination. The increasing tensions around the world and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction highlights the need to bring an end to the nuclear age.
In this vein, the President of ICRC, Peter Maurer, launched a strong appeal which summarizes the conference spirit today: « It is in the name of humanity that I appeal to delegates at this Conference to work with urgency and determination, to adopt a clear and unambiguous prohibition of nuclear weapons, grounded in international humanitarian law. In doing so, you will take an essential and historic step towards bringing the era of nuclear weapons to an end. »