Abolition 2000 – Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

Youth Fusion, the network of young activists established by Abolition 2000, is taking a lead on global youth action for nuclear abolition. Youth Fusion is making connections with human rights and climate action and building cooperation between the human rights, climate action and nuclear abolition communities. Youth Fusion is also facilitating inter-generational dialogue and cooperation for a nuclear-weapon-free world (see Youth Fusion blog articles).

Below is a short update of recent Youth Fusion actions, plus an encouragement to you to join Youth Fusion as a young activist/student/professional or as a young-at-heart supporter (to receive the newsletter) or supporting organization, if you have not already done so.

Youth Fusion and the UN

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) place a high priority on engaging youth in disarmament issues and processes. Youth Fusion and UNODA have cooperated on initiatives including the #StepUp4Disarmament Youth action for the International Day Against Nuclear tests on August 29, 2021.

More recently, Youth Fusion Co-convenor Vanda Proskova and Youth Fusion member that Kasha Slavner were each honoured by UNODA as a #Leader4Tomorrow. And over the past few years, Youth Fusion members Vanda Proskova, Marzhan Nurzhan, Kehkashan Basu and Marie-Claire Graf have been selected by successive UN General Assembly Presidents to give one of the two civil society presentations to the annual UN High Level Meeting on the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, alongside Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and UN Ambassadors (see summaries and video recordings of the presentations by Vanda, Marzhan, Marie-Claire and Kehkashan

Challenging nuclear policies in UN Human Rights Bodies: Netherlands and the UK

Youth Fusion has been promoting the human right to a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons. Such a right was highlighted by the UN Human Rights Committee in 2018 in General Comment 36 on the Right to Life (Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights).

All of the nuclear armed and allied states are parties to the ICCPR (except China which has signed but not ratified the treaty), which means that they are obliged take action to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world if civil society pushes them to do so through the UN Human Rights bodies.

Youth Fusion has jumped on this opportunity, and has joined with Aotearoa Lawyers for Peace, Basel Peace Office, World Future Council and others in challenging the policies of nuclear armed and allied states in the UN Human Rights Council, Human Rights Committee and Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The most recent challenges were made to the policies of the United Kingdom and Netherlands. Previously challenges have been made to the policies of Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland and North Korea.

In order to inform and engage the global nuclear disarmament community in this important opportunity to challenge the nuclear armed and allied states, Youth Fusion organised and facilitated a global webinar on Nuclear Weapons and Human Rights on February 28, 2022 in commemoration of the Bravo nuclear test, the most destructive of the US nuclear tests in the Pacific.

Ukraine war

Youth Fusion was one of the first international youth organizations to respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, releasing a statement on February 24, the day of the invasion, opposing the war and highlighting the increased risks of a nuclear war. The youth Fusion statement, along with other statements on the war by Abolition 2000 member organizations, is posted at Abolition 2000 Member organizations oppose Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Youth Fusion Elders, inter-generational dialogue and podcast series

Youth Fusion highlights the importance of inter-generational dialogue and of youth learning from the experience of those who have been long-time and effective leaders in the peace and disarmament fields. In this regard, Youth Fusion has organised numerous events involving inter-generational dialogue, and has established a Youth Fusion Elders initiative. Elders are those in the nuclear disarmament community who are held in high esteem, and whose leadership, accomplishments, ideas and wisdom should be honoured and which can provide guidance for our campaigns.

Youth Fusion produces podcast interviews of youth with elders, the most recent of which is a podcast with Douglas Roche, a member of the Abolition 2000 Global Council. Other podcasts with Youth Fusion Elders include Bruce Kent, Uta ZapfMogens Lykketoft, Ana María CettoTolegen Mukhamejanov. Andreas Nidecker and Scilla Elworthy.

The Youth Fusion Elders podcasts are part of a broader Youth Fusion podcast series which also includes interviews with youth activists and disarmament experts. Youth Fusion thanks Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) for permission to use music from his anti-nuclear song Two Suns in the Sunset (2020 remake) as the theme music for the Podcast series.

Youth delegations to NPT conferences

Ensuring there are youth voices in key UN disarmament meetings is a priority for Youth Fusion. This includes the 10th NPT Review Conference which will take place at the United Nations from August 1-26, 2022. Youth Fusion organised a youth delegation to the 2019 NPT Preparatory Conference, and is  organising a youth delegation to the NPT Review Conference plus side events on youth, peace and disarmament. For more information contact marzhan@pnnd.org.