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73rd Anniversary of UN Resolution 1 (1): Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
January 24, 2019
On January 24, 1946, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted by consensus its very first resolution, Res 1 (I), which established a commission of the UN Security Council to ensure the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.
The ensuing Cold War dashed the early hopes of the commission implementing the resolution, as nuclear weapons became entrenched in the policies of the USA, Russia and the three other permanent members of the Security Council – China, France and the UK.
However, the UN resolution remains valid as setting a core objective of the United Nations, and contributing to customary international law requiring the global abolition of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
The UN Secretary-General generally opens the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on (or near) the anniversary, with a keynote speech on disarmament.
Parliamentarians, governments and civil society are encouraged to highlight the 73rd anniversary of UNGA Res 1(1) as a time to take action for nuclear disarmament, and to highlight the role of the United Nations in achieving the peace and security of a nuclear-weapon-free world.
The anniversary could be used to:
- Promote the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (a treaty of non-nuclear states as parties) and the UN General Assembly call for nuclear-armed countries and non-nuclear countries to negotiate a nuclear weapons convention (a global treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons with international verification and enforcement), and incremental nuclear-risk-reduction and disarmament measures that contribute to this goal;
- Highlight and support Securing our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament, the disarmament agenda released on May 24, 2018 by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres;
- Highlight and promote the affirmation by the UN Human Rights Committee that the threat or use of nuclear weapons violate the Right to Life and may amount to a crime under international law:
- Call on governments to support the UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, which would provide a high-level forum for advancing a nuclear weapons convention and incremental disarmament measures, but which has been postponed due to opposition from nuclear armed-states and lack of political will by non-nuclear states;
- Hold public events, such as movie screenings, to promote the anniversary.
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