Continuing into this week of the negotiations, everyone is very aware of the deadline ahead, and it seems that the diplomats share civil society’s ardent desire to create an effective and unambiguous treaty by the end of the negotiating period.
The closed sessions continued today, allowing for questioning and plain speaking. Side events and work done outside the room was also looking forward in some respects, addressing how the finished treaty might be shared and what our collective and separate next steps might be. This included pushing forward on the ideas from our Scottish panel and extending them to explore ways that nuclear armed states and those that see themselves as dependent can share experience and tactics to build capacity, so a group is becoming established to do that. It was seen as essential to discredit any suggestion that the treaty is some sort of protest about who has the power instead of an expression of how inherently unacceptable nuclear weapons have been proved to be.
We hope that there has been sufficient mention from member states to ensure adding to the treaty’s main prohibitions threat of use, financing, military alliance planning, and transit. Fixing health and environmental impacts must be undertaken without discrimination, a binding responsibility that gives an entitlement to assistance from all states. If, as we hope, threat is one of the prohibitions we need to be ready to move forward in public education that the dogma of so-called nuclear deterrence has at last been discredited as a legitimate activity in any international relations that comply with the principles of United Nations.
We also had some fun outside the UN with some masks and our own, non-lethal and non-radioactive ‘bomb’ as you can see in our action pictures. In addition to those, and some great new videos – Beatrice explaining the main elements of the new draft version of the treaty, and the International Red Cross and Red Resent video you can find on Facebook. Key arguments were strongly communicated in the conference by diplomats as well as some great inputs from the NGOs. (Most of these cannot be attributed or reported from the closed door sessions.)
At the close of today’s session, Dr Rebecca Johnson spoke to diplomats about four outstanding requirements.
- First, a secretariat to promote the Treaty’s purposes and implementation would be able to engage with other bodies and also with states that are seeking to join.
- Secondly, the the treaty should be of unlimited duration and not permit withdrawal. Withdrawing from this Treaty would threaten international peace, security, human rights and our globally shared environment. At the very least if there must be withdrawal arrangement they should require a minimum of 24 months notice to give time to examine reasons and ensure that withdrawal did not suggest a security value in nuclear weapons or threaten global peace and security, as underpinned in the UN Charter.
- Thirdly, to make it as inviting and credible as possible for states to join, implement and comply with the treaty,whether they choose to join and then implement, or to implement and then join in all cases to ensure necessary international verification and accountability. The text must avoid creating confusion or loopholes.
- And lastly, while welcoming support and reinforcement of the NPT’s core objectives of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, it is wrongful and also unnecessary for this Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty to mention any form of civilian energy production anywhere in its text. Referring to NPT “rights” is not only legally unnecessary, as the two treaties will exist alongside each other, but potentially dangerous.