146 states meet in Mexico to discuss humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons
On Thursday 13 February, 146 states are gathered in Nayarit, Mexico for the second international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. “The momentum from the Oslo conference last year has become even stronger. It is now time to start discussing the steps towards a ban on nuclear weapons”, said Liv Tørres, Secretary General at Norwegian People’s Aid.
There has been increased momentum over the recent years to address the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. At the first international conference hosted by Norway in March 2013, international organizations concluded that there could be no adequate response if nuclear weapons were used, either by design or accident.
Liv Tørres said, “The process that started in Oslo in 2013 has given us a new frame of mind to discuss the threat of nuclear weapons. Here in Mexico, the humanitarian perspective and its momentum will be developed further”.
On the morning of the first day of the conference, Austrian Foreign Minister, Sebastian Kurz, announced that Austria will host the next international conference of this initiative later in 2014.
“The announcement from Austria that they will host another conference is fantastic news! This means states are willing to move from a discussion about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons to a discussion about what must be done to make sure they are never used again. The non-nuclear states are tired of empty promises of disarmament from the states that possess nuclear weapons. It is time to demand action. We look forward to Norway taking an active role in this process" said Liv Tørres.
The Austria Conference will discuss how best to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again, by design, miscalculation, or accident. Discussions are expected to consider frameworks for how to address the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.
Norwegian People’s Aid is involved in the work to ban nuclear weapon through ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons . NPA’s policy advisor on Humanitarian Disarmament, Grethe Østern, sits on the board of ICAN international.
Østern said, “Norway and Norwegian politicians have now a great opportunity to show leadership and play an important role by supporting the upcoming process of creating a ban on nuclear weapons, and by continuing to support the humanitarian initiative”.