"Nuclear weapons are the most notorious weapons of mass destruction ever developed," said Dr David Hutchinson Edgar, Chairperson of the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. "They are in effect weapons of genocide, capable of killing thousands, possibly millions of people in one blast. They cause immeasureable humanitarian suffering and environmental damage. They have no place in civilised society. We urge the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to desist from any further nuclear explosions and to rejoin international processes for nuclear disarmament."
"We call on all nuclear armed states to engage in negotiations leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons," he continued. "The possession and modernisation of nuclear arsenals by a small number of states acts as an incentive to states like North Korea to acquire these horrific weapons. Non-nuclear-armed states like Ireland have an important role to play within the international community in keeping up pressure to stigmatise, ban and eliminate nuclear weapons."
Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN, of which Irish CND is a member), Beatrice Fihn, stated, "We are calling on the international community as a whole to prohibit the use, production, testing and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, just as it has prohibited biological and chemical weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions. A treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, even if not universally supported at its outset, would greatly strengthen the global norm against nuclear weapons. It would represent a clear declaration by the international community that nuclear weapons are unacceptable not only for North Korea but for all nations."
More than 15,000 nuclear weapons remain in the world today, with all nine nuclear-armed nations investing in the build-up and modernisation of their arsenals. As North Korea has pursued its nuclear programme, so too have other nations, often without media scrutiny or widespread condemnation. Last month a UN Working Group in Geneva, backed by Ireland, recommended that a conference be convened in 2017 to negotiate a “legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.