155 GOVERNMENTS SIGN UP TO STATEMENT ON CATASTROPHIC CONSEQUENCES OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: WHERE IS AUSTRALIA?
PEOPLE FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
HUMAN SURVIVAL PROJECT
155 GOVERNMENTS SIGN UP TO STATEMENT ON CATASTROPHIC CONSEQUENCES OF
NUCLEAR WEAPONS: WHERE IS AUSTRALIA?
Yesterday at the United Nations, 155 governments led by New Zealand,
presented a joint statement at United Nations First Committee on the
catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use.
In 2013 in First Committee, a similar statement obtained the
signatures of 125 governments.
Both last year and this year, Australia has refused to sign these statements.
The very existence of humans as a species may conceivably depend on
action to eliminate nuclear weapons stemming from the considerations
these statements underline.
The statement adopted this year, like last years, points out that as
long ago as 1955, prominent physicists and philosophers (Bertrand
Russell and Albert Einstein) adopted a statement in which they said
that nuclear weapons represent a threat not just to civilisation but
to the very continuance of humans as a species. The statement goes on
to stress the continuing existential relevance of the nuclear threat.
Australia has a statement of its own in which it stresses the
difficulties of nuclear disarmament and the need to create the right
conditions for it to take place. While there is no dispute as to the
attachment that certain governments have to their nuclear arsenals,
this cannot be used as an excuse for continued inaction. Nuclear
disarmament needs to be treated as the existential priority that it
A conference on catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear
weapons is being held on 8-9Dec in Vienna, hosted by the government of
Austria. Let us hope that the governments of Australia and others who
so far have failed to sign this most important joint statement attend
it, determined to play a truly constructive role that leads to the
swift and total elimination of nuclear arsenals.