United Nations Observes International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
Marking 70 years since the first and last use of a nuclear weapon in war.
Santa Barbara – The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons will be observed on Wednesday, September 30, at the United Nations in New York City.
This is a day to remind the world that nuclear weapons are immoral and illegal weapons that can destroy – in a matter of hours – humankind and all that we cherish on Earth. It is a day that provides the world community a chance to reaffirm its commitment to total nuclear disarmament. It’s a chance to educate the public about the social and economic costs of perpetuating these weapons of mass annihilation. And it is a day to shine a light on the fact that countries possessing these weapons have expensive, long-range plans to modernize their nuclear arsenals.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commented recently on the commemoration, saying, “The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the first and last use of a nuclear weapon in war…The consequences of any further use of nuclear weapons, whether intentional or by mistake, would be horrific. When it comes to our common objective of nuclear disarmament, we must not delay – we must act now.”
Pope Francis strongly agrees. In his speech to the United Nations last week he called for the “complete prohibition” of nuclear weapons, stating, “there is urgent need to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, in full application of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons.”
He also challenged the theory of nuclear deterrence, “the threat of mutual destruction – and possibly the destruction of all mankind,” describing it as “self-contradictory and an affront to the entire framework of the United Nations which would end up as nations united by fear and distrust.”
David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, commented on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons: “This is an important day for people throughout the world to focus on the need to abolish nuclear weapons. Pope Francis, in calling for ‘complete prohibition’ of nuclear weapons, makes an important contribution to this International Day and, more broadly, to the tireless work taking place throughout the world for the abolition of these insanely destructive weapons.”
Speaking on Wednesday at the United Nations will be Kristina Stege from the Marshallese Educational Initiative. The Marshall Islands filed lawsuits against all nine nuclear-armed nations in the International Court of Justice and separately against the United States in U.S. Federal District Court last year. The lawsuits call upon these nations to fulfill their legal obligations to begin negotiations for complete nuclear disarmament. The Marshall Islands suffered greatly at the hands of the U.S., which conducted atmospheric and underwater nuclear tests there in the 1940s and 1950s. Their lawsuits are a bold form of peaceful, non-violent action aimed at changing the status quo on this critical issue that threatens all humanity and undermines our common future. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation serves as a consultant to the Marshall Islands in their Nuclear Zero Lawsuits.
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Founded in 1982, The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s mission is to educate and advocate for peace and a world free of nuclear weapons and to empower peace leaders. The Foundation is comprised of individuals and organizations worldwide who realize the imperative for peace in the Nuclear Age. It is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with consultative status to the United Nations. For more information, visit www.wagingpeace.org.