UNFOLD ZERO Newsletter

Dear friends,
As nuclear tensions increase following North Korea’s most recent missile test, young academics and activists from around the world released an appeal calling on:
  1. All governments to participate at the highest level (Prime Minister, President, Foreign Minister or Minister for Disarmament) in the 2018 UN High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament;
  2. Non-nuclear countries to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the 2018 UN High-Level Conference, if they have not already done so, in order to secure 100 signatories by the end of the conference;
  3. Nuclear reliant countries (nuclear armed countries and their allies) to adopt a declaration at the conference to never use nuclear weapons first, and to ensure that all nuclear weapons systems are taken off high-readiness to use, and to commit to negotiations on phased nuclear disarmament.
The appeal – Reach High for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World – was adopted at the conclusion of a three-day conference in Prague, Czech Republic, organised by the Youth Section of Abolition 2000, the global civil society network to eliminate nuclear weapons.
Yasmin Natalia Espinoza, former Coordinator Arms Control Campaign Amnesty International-Chile, speaking at the conference
The conference included participants from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.
‘Any use of nuclear weapons regardless of which country uses them, would cause catastrophic health, economic and environmental consequences that would last for generations,’ says Marzhan Nurzhan, Convener of the Youth Network, NGO speaker at the UN High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament and a citizen of Kazakhstan which was devastated by Soviet nuclear tests during the Cold War.

Young people have a vested interest in the future and should be included in deliberations, negotiations and campaigns to prevent nuclear war and achieve nuclear disarmament. We can work alongside and in partnership with our seniors, who have expertise and experience. Such inter-generational cooperation is essential to ensure success.'
Marzhan Nurzhan speaking at the Prague conference

No-first use of nuclear weapons

The appeal calls specifically on the nuclear armed States – including United States and North Korea – to pledge never to be the first to use nuclear weapons, as well as to ensure that all nuclear weapons systems are taken off high-readiness to use, and to commit to negotiations on phased nuclear disarmament.
The escalating threat of nuclear confrontation between North Korea and the USA is frightening,’ says Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND), a co-sponsor of the conference. ‘But calling on North Korea to unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons while they are threatened with nuclear attack or pre-emptive strike from other countries, is unrealistic.

A no-first-use pledge by all nuclear-armed States, and the establishment of a regional nuclear-weapon-free zone, have much more chance of success. These proposals already have considerable support from parliamentarians in all three key countries – Japan, South Korea and North Korea
Participants in the conference 'prevent' a nuclear missile from being launched from Charles University
Replace nuclear deterrence with common security

The appeal recognizes that a large number of countries still rely on nuclear deterrence as part of their security doctrine, but affirms that these countries are legally obliged to achieve nuclear disarmament.

We call on nuclear-reliant countries to fulfill that obligation, while maintaining their security, by replacing nuclear deterrence with common security approaches and international law,’ says Kristýna Chyňavová, a law student at Charles University and a participant in the conference.

The UN Charter provides for effective approaches to achieving security through diplomacy, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, adjudication, use of regional mechanism and use of the UN Security Council and General Assembly. Even in these turbulent times It is possible to replace to law of force with the force of law.
Kristýna Chyňavová speaking at the conference
Inter-generational action

The Hibakusha (survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings) have been appealing for the abolition of nuclear weapons in their lifetime,’ says Kanau Kobayashi a Japanese university student who helped organize the conference.

This inter-generational campaign, of youth working with Hibakusha and other elders for nuclear abolition, has the possibility to succeed, especially if world leaders and civil society take seriously the opportunity provide by the UN High-Level Conference next year.
Yours sincerely
Copyright © 2017 UNFOLD ZERO

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