In a bold diplomatic move at the United Nations in Geneva today, a group of non-nuclear countries pushed through a proposal to commence negotiations in 2017 to prohibit nuclear weapons.
The UN Open Ended Working group on nuclear disarmament (OEWG) adopted a recommendation to the United Nations General Assembly in October to initiate negotiations on a legal instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading to their elimination.
In a recorded vote on the proposal, 62 countries supported (all non-nuclear states), 27 countries opposed (mostly NATO countries plus South Korea), and 8 countries abstained (among them were Sweden, Switzerland and Japan).
The recommendation was part of a more detailed report of the OEWG that will be presented to the UN General Assembly, and which also includes a recommendation for States to undertake measures to reduce and eliminate the risk of nuclear weapons use, increase transparency about nuclear weapons and enhance awareness about the humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.
The Ambassador of Mexico, the country that had initiated the OEWG, called this 'the most significant contribution to nuclear disarmament in two decades.'
Following the adoption of the report, UNFOLD ZERO, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament and ICAN made statements at the OEWG session commending the work of the OEWG, and giving support for the nuclear disarmament negotiations in 2017.