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10/31/16

Nuclear Weapons ban: UN vote to negotiate a global nuclear weapons ban - by Rebecca Johnson

Over 71 years after atomic weapons flattened the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, leading to the development of over 50,000 nuclear weapons by ten nations, a majority of 123 UN Member states have voted to convene a multilateral UN conference in 2017 "to negotiate a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination."

Led by a broad cross section of nuclear free countries, including South Africa which eliminated its nuclear arsenal in 1991, their objective is to create a nuclear weapons prohibition regime under International Humanitarian Law.

Their intention is to accelerate the abolition of today's nuclear arsenals of over 15,000 weapons, reduce the proliferation-driving value attached to these weapons of mass destruction, prevent nuclear detonations and deter further modernization and proliferation.

Building on the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the new multilateral treaty will for the first time provide a comprehensive approach to prohibiting activities such as the use, deployment, production, transporting, stockpiling and financing of nuclear weapons.

It will also extend the NPT's nuclear disarmament obligation by creating a clear, unequivocal legal obligation to eliminate existing arsenals that will apply to non-NPT as well as all NPT states.

The UK was among 38 states that voted against negotiating such a treaty, though diplomats privately acknowledged that they were in a weak position to stop negotiations from going ahead. A further 16 governments decided to abstain.

Read more: Historic UN vote to negotiate a global nuclear weapons ban - The Ecologist

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