H.E. Sam K Kutesa
President of the United Nations General Assembly
Mr Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary-General
The Abolition 2000 Global Council commends the United Nations General Assembly for establishing 26 September as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, and we commend the United Nations as a whole for promoting this common goal for humanity and the planet.
The very first resolution of the UN General Assembly recognised the existential threat to civilisation from nuclear weapons, and established a commission to focus on the ‘elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.’
Nearly 70 years later, the prohibition of chemical weapons, biological weapons, landmines and cluster munitions has been achieved through international treaties. But the political commitment to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons is not yet manifest.
We therefore celebrate the aim of the International Day, as expressed in UN General Assembly resolution 68/32 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.’
We encourage governments, parliaments, cities and civil society around the world to promote and commemorate the day. And we support efforts at the UN to highlight the day.
The Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons was established during the 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference in order to mobilise civil society support for the implementation of the nuclear disarmament obligation expressed in Article VI of the NPT and subsequently affirmed as a universal customary law obligation by the International Court of Justice in 1996.
Over 2000 organisations have supported our call for the immediate commencement of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention, and for the simultaneous adoption of partial and related measures including; a ban on the threat or use of nuclear weapons, a comprehensive prohibition on nuclear testing (including laboratory, subcritical and computer tests), an immediate end to nuclear weapons modernisation and production, a ban on the production and reprocessing of all weapons-usable radioactive materials, establishment of an international registry for weapons-usable radioactive materials, establishment of additional nuclear-weapon-free zones, affirmation by the International Court of Justice of the illegality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons (achieved in 1996), establishment of an international agency to promote and support the development of sustainable and environmentally safe energy sources (achieved in 2009) and the inclusion of citizens and NGOs in planning and monitoring the process of nuclear weapons abolition.
Abolition 2000 Global Council remains committed to [challenging, and] cooperating with, the United Nations, governments, parliaments, cities and civil society to achieve the peace and security of a nuclear-weapon-free world.
The Abolition 2000 Coordinating Committee: Susi Snyder, Alice Slater, Jackie Cabasso, Akira Kawasaki, Dominique Lalanne, Martin Heindrich, Kathleen Walsh, Steven Staples, Alyn Ware, Rick Wayman, and Sharon Dolev
on behalf of the Abolition 2000 Global Council