PNND and the Latin America Nuclear Weapon Free Zone

OPANAL, the agency for a nuclear free Latin America and the Caribbean, holds its 24th Assembly.

PNND is represented by Co-President Senator Laura Rojas.

In 1967, countries in Latin America and Caribbean concluded the Treaty of Tlatelolco establishing the first nuclear weapon free zone (NWFZ) in a populated area, and the second regional NWFZ after Antarctica (1959).

Senator Laura Rojas speaking at the 24th Session of the OPANAL General Conference

An Organisation for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL) was established to implement the treaty. Since then, OPANAL has not only managed to secure membership of every Latin American and Caribbean country in the treaty, but it has also played a major role in promoting the establishment of additional NWFZs and in efforts to ‘make the whole world a nuclear weapon free zone.’

PNND and OPANAL have cooperated on a number of initiatives and actions including:

OPANAL General Conference

At the 24th Session of the OPANAL General Conference in Mexico City on 26 November, PNND Co-President Senator Laura Angélica Rojas Hernández commended OPANAL on their leadership for nuclear disarmament, and for winning the 2013 Future Policy Award which was presented to Ambassador Gioconda Úbeda Rivera, then the Secretary-General of OPANAL, at the United Nations in New York.

PNND and OPANAL launched the Spanish version of the Handbook for Parliamentarians at the 128th IPU Assembly in Quito, Ecuador.

Senator Rojas highlighted the humanitarian dimension of nuclear weapons and the international conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons that were held in Oslo, Nayarit and Vienna.

She called on OPANAL member countries to participate actively in the new UN Open Ended Working Group that the UN General Assembly decided on 5 November 2015 to establish through a UN resolution introduced by her government – Mexico.

Senator Rojas noted that actions by non-nuclear weapon states, such as establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones, are important. But ultimate success for nuclear disarmament will require more commitment and action by nuclear-armed countries.  She highlighted the Nuclear Zero case in the International Court of justice as an important tool to put pressure on these countries.

The Marshall Islands has invited other non-nuclear countries to join the case through exercising the right of intervention. Latin American and Caribbean countries were actively involved in the historic 1996 International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion which affirmed the unconditional obligation to achieve nuclear disarmament. It would be appropriate and helpful to also be active in this follow-up case.’

 *  Read the speech of Senator Laura Angélica Rojas Hernández to OPANAL 24th Session in Spanish (original) or in English (unofficial translation)

Documents and resolutions

The OPANAL Conference adopted a resolution on External Relations of OPANAL which, inter alia, instructed the OPANAL Secretary-General to participate in the UN Open Ended Working Group. 

The conference also adopted a resolution on commemoration of the 50th anniversary in 2017 of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, a resolution on Interpretative Declarations made by the States Party to the Additional Protocols I and II to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, and the Report of the Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education.

* Photographs of the OPANAL General Conference - 24th Session.