Parliamentarians take action for Nuclear Abolition Day

September 26 was the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Parliamentarians around the world promoted the day and took action to advance nuclear disarmament.

Actions by parliamentarians around the world for the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons included parliamentary discussions, screenings of the movie ‘The Man Who Saved the World’, social medua actions and presentation to the United Nations of a Joint statement of legislators and religious leaders for a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Joint statement of legislators and religious leaders

On September 28 - as world leaders gathered at the United Nations for the opening session of its 70th anniversary year - PNND, Mayors for Peace and Religions for Peace presented a joint statement on nuclear disarmament to Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly.

Presentation of the Joint Statement to Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly

The statement calls on world leaders to “commit to nuclear abolition and to replace nuclear deterrence with shared security approaches to conflicts”, and in particular to negotiate “a nuclear weapons convention or framework of agreements that eliminate nuclear weapons,” a proposal advanced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and supported by over 130 countries.

It was presented to the President of the UNGA by Saber Chowdhury (PNND Co-President and President of the Inter Parliamentary Union), Dr William Vendley (Secretary-General of Religions for Peace), Randy Rydell (Senior Adviser for Mayors for Peace) and Jonathan Granoff (PNND Council Member and President of the Global Security Institute).

‘We join together to highlight the continuing risks of a nuclear catastrophe – whether by accident, miscalculation or intent – and the moral and security imperative to achieve nuclear abolition,’ said Dr William Vendley.

“Nearly 16,000 nuclear weapons remain in the world’s arsenals costing $100 billion annually – funds that could instead be used to implement the Sustainable Development Goals,’ said Mr Saber Chowdhury MP. ‘We reaffirm UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s description of the abolition of nuclear weapons as a “common good of the highest order.”

Criona Ni Dalaigh, Lord Mayor of Dublin, signs the joint statement

The joint statement was launched in Hiroshima on August 6th – the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of that city – as part of a developing program of cooperation between PNND, Religions for Peace and Mayors for Peace.

It is endorsed by over 180 religious leaders, mayors and parliamentarians from Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States and Zimbabwe.

PNND also presented the statement on September 22 to Marco Kalbusch, Head of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs in Geneva, as part of the UN Commemoration event for the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

For more information see Religious leaders and legislators present nuclear abolition call to the United Nations

Nuclear Abolition Day - parliament events

A number of parliaments held events to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Austrian Ambassador Alexander Kmentt and PNND Co-President Bill Kidd speaking at the Scottish Parliament event for Sep 26.

In Scotland, PNND Co-President Bill Kidd organized a debate in the Scottish Parliament on ‘The NPT, the Marshall Islands and the UK Government’s Failure to Meet its Obligations’. The Marshall Islands, a nuclear testing ground in the 1950s and early 60s, has taken legal action against all nine nuclear-armed countries in international and national courts, highlighting the alleged breach of Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law. Mr Kidd also hosted a symposium for parliamentarians and civil society following the debate.

In Jordan, PNND Council member Salwa al Damen Masri initiated a special session of the Senate to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

All 75 members of the Jordan Senate attended the session, which featured the screening of a 30-minute section of the movie The Man Who Saved the World (with Arabic subtitles), along with an introduction by Senator Salwa al Damen Masri, a statement by His Excellency Mr Abdur-Rauf Rawabdeh (President of the Jordan Senate), and a presentation by Alyn Ware (PNND Global Coordinator). See Jordan Senate holds special session for Nuclear Abolition Day.

National Assembly of Cuba holds a session to commemorate September 26

In New Zealand, PNND Council member Phil Goff hosted a screening of the movie ‘The man Who Saved the World’ in the Parliament Theatre (Wellington), and introduced the movie at a public screening in Auckland.

In Cuba, the International Relations Commission of the National Assembly adopted a statement commemorating the day, calling on governments to commence negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention, and urging governments to have the convention ready for adoption at the UN High Level Conference in 2018.

Social media and other actions

In May 2014, PNND co-founded UNFOLD ZERO, which promotes United Nations (UN) focused initiatives and actions for the achievement of a nuclear weapons free world. UNFOLD ZERO aims to unfold the path to zero nuclear weapons through effective steps and measures facilitated by the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, UN Secretary-General and other UN bodies.

Ambassador Maria Espinosa (Ecuador) presents the joint statement to Marco Kalbusch, Head of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs in Geneva

UNFOLD ZERO provided a platform in 2015 for actions to observe the international Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. These included:

UNFOLD ZERO also organized the UN commemoration of the day in Geneva on September 22, produced a video interview of the President of the UN General Assembly about the day, and circulated articles on the day, including the UNSG’s statement, and on related UN initiatives, such as UN General Assembly to re-open the door to a nuclear-weapon free world.