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Women’s International Day for Peace and Disarmament
May 24, 2018
On May 24, Women’s International Day for Peace and Disarmament, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will release Securing our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament, a new initiative to address the humanitarian impact of armed conflict and the increased threats from arms races, international tensions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The UNSG will release the agenda at a special event at the University of Geneva which will be live-streamed, making it possible to watch the UNSG’s presentation and follow-up discussion on your smartphone, laptop or computer.
Also on May 24, to commemorate Women’s International Day for Peace and Disarmament, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND) will release Common security for a sustainable and nuclear-weapon-free world, a joint statement of women parliamentarians from around the world commemorating the day and supporting the UNSG’s initiative.
The statement calls for ‘diplomacy, conflict resolution, common security and law to address security issues, rather than the threat or use of force.’
It notes that ‘The United Nations was established with an array of mechanisms through which nations can resolve conflicts, negotiate disarmament and achieve security through diplomacy not war. These have been supplemented by additional common security mechanisms such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. We urge governments to make better use of these common security mechanisms, and especially to replace reliance on nuclear deterrence with reliance on common security.’
‘The very first resolution of the United Nations called for the elimination of “nuclear weapons and all other weapons adaptable to mass destruction.” Yet, 73 years later, over 15,000 nuclear weapons remain in the world’s arsenals, threatening current and future generations and costing $100 billion annually. These funds could instead be used to reverse climate change, eliminate poverty and fulfill other social and economic needs.’
‘We therefore welcome the decision by the United Nations General Assembly to hold a High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament to advance effective measures for nuclear disarmament. We call on all governments to attend the conference at the highest level, and to use the conference to make significant progress on nuclear risk-reduction and disarmament initiatives.’
175th birthday of Nobel Peace Laureate Bertha von Suttner
The joint parliamentary statement also highlights the 175th anniversary birthday of Bertha von Suttner, the author of Lay Down Your Arms and the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
‘ As women legislators (current and former) from around the world we are inspired by peace visionaries like Berta von Suttner to reach beyond our national borders and different political persuasions to embrace the common interest of all humanity for peace and disarmament.’
The statement has been endorsed by women legislators from Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Finland, Germany, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lichtenstein, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.