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United Nations First Committee

Posted by Theresa Shaffer on November 16, 2015

We are celebrating the First Committee vote on a resolution pertaining to the Humanitarian Pledge on November 2nd. This resolution urged all states to renew their commitment under article VI of the NPT (to pursue nuclear disarmament in good faith) and to pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

128 nations voted for the resolution, 29 voted against it (including the United States,) and 18 nations abstained. This brings the total number of countries supporting the Humanitarian Pledge to over 128 (some nations that were on record for supporting the Pledge were absent from this vote.)

Although the United States voted against this resolution, over 1,500 PSR members contacted the U.S. State department with support for a ban treaty in the United States. A message was sent to Ambassador Wood, representing the U.S. at the First Committee, as well as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control Rose Gottemoeller, urging them to support the Humanitarian Pledge Resolution as a first step to eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all.

On November 5th, the First Committee voted on a resolution tabled by Mexico for an Open-Ended Working Group that would seek the development of new legal provisions and norms for nuclear disarmament. This working group would be open to all and less able to be blocked by only one country. It would operate under standard UN rules rather than consensus, offering a chance for committed states to begin work to fill the legal gap to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. ICAN and PSR welcome this as another step forward towards eliminating nuclear weapons.

135 nations voted for the resolution, 12 voted against it (including the United States) and 33 nations abstained. The Open-Ended Working Group plans to meet in Geneva in 2016.

It's evident from these votes that the majority of the world's non-nuclear weapon states are plowing ​forward with a movement to fill the legal gap to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. It's also clear that they're not letting the nuclear weapon states get in their way. ​Working with IPPNW and ICAN, ​PSR will continue to fully support this movement, and it's up to us to keep the pressure on the U.S. government to join in with the rest of the world.    

To see a full list of the resolutions that were proposed at the First Committee and how they were voted on, visit Reaching Critical Will's website.


Daniel Kerlinsky MD said ..

The first step to "fill the gap" is to halt all manufacture of nuclear weapons. Manufacture of nuclear weapons should be defined to include refurbishment and life extension alterations of nuclear weapons already in the stockpiles. Manufacture should be defined to include the assembly of nuclear weapons which are currently stored in partial disassembly.

March 28, 2016

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