Saturday, June 3, 2017

Draft Text of Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons published by United Nations

The draft text of a treaty to ban nuclearweapons has been released in advance of negotiations resuming at the United Nations later this month. Following initial discussions involving over 130 states in March, the talks chairperson, Costa Rican UN ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez published the draft of the Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which would introduce clear-cut international prohibitions on the development, possession or use of nuclear weapons.

The introduction to the draft treaty bases it firmly in the recognition of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences caused by nuclear weapons, and declares that any use of nuclear weapons would be contrary to international humanitarian law.

The text speaks of how nuclear weapons “pose grave implications for human survival, the environment, socioeconomic development, the global economy, food security and for the health of future generations” and specifically notes “the disproportionate impact of ionizing radiation on maternal health and on girls.”

The draft text has been widely welcomed by campaigners. Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said: “The draft language is strong and categorically prohibits nuclear weapons. The President of the negotiations, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez, has captured the key elements agreed upon in March. And while we expect debate on the text as this process moves forward, we are confident that this text provides a good basis for adopting a treaty by July 7.”

“We are particularly happy the text is rooted in humanitarian principles and that it builds on previous prohibitions of unacceptable weapons, such as biological and chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions,” Fihn added.

As one of the key sponsors of the UN General Assembly resolution to establish the negotiations, Ireland has been a strong supporter of the process. The Irish delegation played a prominent role in the March discussions, and is expected to play a leading role again during the next round of talks, which aims to see a revised draft agreed by early July. 

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