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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 29 - April 4  > UN discusses a treaty banning nuclear weapons for 1st time ever
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2017 March 29 - April 4 [PEACE]

UN discusses a treaty banning nuclear weapons for 1st time ever

March 29, 2017
The United Nations on March 27 convened a conference in New York City to negotiate a treaty banning nuclear weapons for the first time ever. Most nations gave remarks during the opening day session expressing support for the goal of the talks. Meanwhile, ambassadors from major nuclear weapons states and supporting states boycotted the meeting. They expressed their opposition to the antinuke meeting at a press conference held outside the UN assembly hall.

Representatives of more than 110 countries took part in the discussions on the first day of the five-day session. The second session is scheduled for June.

Austrian Ambassador to the UN Jan Kickert in his speech pointed out that such a large number of States assembled in this hall shows the broad, global support for a prohibition of nuclear weapons He stressed that the only way to reduce the risk of nuclear weapons is the prohibition of such weapons through a legally binding instrument. The Austrian envoy called on the audience to take the first step by laying out the goal of the process – “the legal prohibition of NW (nuclear weapons)”. Representatives from other countries made similar statements.

Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) Assistant Secretary General Fujimori Toshiki delivered a speech on behalf of Hibakusha in Japan. Saying, “Nobody, in any country, deserves seeing the same hell on earth (that Hibakusha experienced) again”, Fujimori emphasized the urgent need for a nuclear weapons convention.

Fujimori was one year old when he was exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. He said, “I survived. It is a miracle. I am here at the UN, asking for an abolition of nuclear weapons. I am convinced that this is a mission I am given as a survivor of the atomic-bomb.”

The Hiroshima Hibakusha noted that the representative of Japan, the only country that suffered from nuclear weapons attacks, voted against a UN General Assembly resolution (December 2016) to convene the antinuke conference, adding, “As a Hibakusha, and as a Japanese, I am here today heartbroken.”

Fujimori mentioned that the international signature-collection campaign in support of Hibakusha’s appeal for the elimination of nuclear weapons was launched in 2016. He stated that the number of signatures collected in Japan so far exceeds 1.7 million. Fujimori said, “Let us work together to achieve the nuclear ban treaty,” receiving enthusiastic applause from the participants.
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