Martin Chungong, Secretary-General of the Inter Parliamentary Union, calls on the 164 IPU member parliaments to commemorate Sep 26 by taking part in the UNFOLD ZERO campaign.
Parliamentarians around the world took action to support the first International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on September 26, 2014 through joint statements, parliamentary resolutions, video messages and social media promotion.
Parliamentarians participated in the UNFOLD ZERO public action – asking a range of people in public places ‘How many nuclear weapons do you think are in the world?’ and ‘How many nuclear weapons do you think should be in the world?’ See the videos of their answers.
In the European Parliament, members from six of the seven political groups in parliament signed a joint statement initiated by the European Parliament Section of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) welcoming the day, highlighting ‘the risk that these weapons could be used by accident, miscalculation or intent especially in times of heightened conflict;’ and ‘urging the EU Council to discuss and adopt a sound Common Position well ahead of the 2015 nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty Review conference which aims to initiate complete nuclear disarmament. Endorsers came from the following political groups: Group of the European People’s Party -Christian Democrats, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance and Europe of freedom and direct democracy Group).
In North East Asia, parliamentarians from seven political parties in Japan (government and opposition) and from both government and opposition parties in the Republic of Korea, signed a joint statement initiated by the PNND Japan and PNND Korean Sections welcoming the day. The statement, like the European Parliament Statement, highlights the risk that these weapons could be used by accident, miscalculation or intent especially in times of heightened conflict;’ and encourages ‘parliaments and parliamentarians around the world to join with civil society, the United Nations and governments to observe this day annually and to act for the achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free world.’. See PNND Korea Statement (List of endorsers) and PNND Japan Statement (List of endorsers).
The statement was launched at a joint meeting of PNND Japan and PNND Korea in Tokyo on September 16. Parliamentarians at the meeting also discussed the possibility of establishing a North East Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, and other approaches to reducing the role of nuclear weapons in the region and globally.
PNND Co-President Mikyung LEE, Member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, says that “Parliamentarians throughout the world must cooperate for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia Nuclear Free Zone, and further, total abolition of nuclear weapons. A worldwide campaign must continue to alert the public about dangers of the possession and use of nuclear weapons”.
PNND presented the parliamentary statements from the European Parliament, Japan and Korea to Ambassador Michael Moller, Director-General of the United Nations in Geneva, at the UN commemoration of the International Day held in the Palais des Nations. The Japan Statement was also presented at the event to the Japanese Ambassador to the UN, while the Korean and European Statements were delivered to their respective UN ambassadors in Geneva.
In Costa Rica the parliament adopted by consensus a resolution submitted by PNND members Natalia Díaz Quintana and Michael Arce Sancho welcoming the day. The resolution also expresses concern at the dangers posed by nuclear weapons, notes that any use of nuclear weapons would cause catastrophic humanitarian consequences, welcomes the consensus resolution of the 130th Assembly of the Inter Parliamentary Union calling for negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention or package of similar global agreements, and calls on parliaments around the world to support the day. See video of Natalia Diaz Quintana presenting the resolution in the Costa Rica Parliament.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union released a press statement on September 26 renewing its call on parliaments and MPs around the world to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as a matter of urgency, and encouraging its members to take part in the UNFOLD ZERO campaign. IPU membership comprises 164 national parliaments (including the parliaments of most of the nuclear-armed States and their allies) and 10 regional parliaments.
IPU also released a video statement from Secretary-General Martin Chungong supporting the day. In March, the 130th Assembly of IPU adopted a landmark resolution supporting the start of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention or a package of agreements to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world, and urging parliaments to use all available tools to monitor national implementation of disarmament commitments.
In Bangladesh parliamentarians used the occasion to establish a section of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND Bangladesh). The Section will focus on advancing nuclear abolition through national legislation, regional parliamentary events and global action. PNND Bangladesh is chaired by Hon. Mainuddin Khan Badal. Saber Chowdhury, Co-President of PNND Global and a former Chair of the Inter Parliamentary Union Standing Committee on Peace and International Security, was instrumental in establishing the section.
In Cuba, the Foreign Affairs Commission of the National Assembly adopted a statement welcoming the International Day, rejecting nuclear weapons as well as the doctrines that seek to justify their use, calling for the resources dedicated to nuclear weapons to be assigned to the promotion of peace and sustainable development, and supporting the initiation of urgent negotiations on an international convention on the total elimination of nuclear weapons, which will prohibit the development, production, acquisition, testing, storing, transfer, use or threat of the use of these weapons and stipulate their destruction.
The Cuban parliamentary statement noted that ‘Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro Ruz, has expressed on various occasions, humanity finds itself at a crucial moment in its history; the threats to the survival of our species are increasingly serious and alarming, the only guarantee that nuclear weapons cannot be used by anyone is their absolute prohibition and elimination. It is for these reasons that we call for all parliamentarians across the world to promote actions aimed at eliminating nuclear arms from the face of the Earth, together will all weapons of mass destruction, in order to guarantee a world of peace and free from nuclear weapons for future generations.’
The statement was introduced by PNND Member Yolande Ferrer Gómez who serves as the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Commission, and who was also one of the co-rapportuers for the report and resolution adopted by the Inter Parliamentary Union in March 2014 on ‘Toward a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: The Contribution of Parliaments.’ (See World body of parliaments calls for negotiations to abolish nuclear weapons).
In Nicaragua, Deputy Santos Rene Núñez Téllez (President of the National Assembly) and Deputy Alba Palacios (Secretary of the National Assembly) introduced and adopted a Declaration Supporting September 26 as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, Demanding the Enforcement of this Aim by all Member States, the United Nations System and Civil Society.
Other parliamentarians participated in the Sep 26 Global Action video and in tweeting key Sep 26 messages to their followers and to their national leaders.