Letter from Nagasaki to the World’s Governments

2017 World Conference against A & H Bombs – Nagasaki
August 9, 2017

Special Resolution: Letter from Nagasaki to the World’s Governments

We met in Nagasaki, a city that suffered an atomic bomb attack 72 years ago, to call on the world’s governments to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as a first step towards completely eliminating nuclear weapons.
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Hiroshima World Conference speech

by Lisa Clark, IPB Co-President

I would like to begin by thanking the organizers for having invited me. My name is Lisa Clark and I am currently the Co-President of the International Peace Bureau, an old organization, founded in the early 1890s, to establish a permanent network among the peace movements from different countries. In the late 19th century they were mostly European and North American, but today the IPB has over 300 member organizations in all continents, including Nihon Hidankyo and Gensuikyo, the organizers of this World Conference.
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2017 World Conference against A and H Bombs, Nagasaki – Closing Plenary

Lisa Clark
Co-President, International Peace Bureau


This was my first time at the World Conference. Let me thank Gensuikyo for having allowed me to enjoy this extraordinary experience. The International Peace Bureau (IPB) is dedicated to the vision of a world without war.

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The Nuclear Ban Treaty

John Burroughs
Lawyers Commitee on Nuclear Policy

Amb. Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko of South Africa, which played an important role in the negotiations.UN Webcast, March 28, 2017.
Approved on July 7 by a vote of 122 to 1 (Netherlands, the only NATO state to participate), with one abstention (Singapore), the nuclear ban treaty will open for signature on September 20 at the United Nations and will enter into force when 50 states have signed and ratified it.

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Key Issues in Negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty

By John Burroughs
Arms Control Today, June 2017

The outlines of a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading to their total elimination, emerged in late March during the first week of negotiations among diplomats representing about 130 governments. During a second session, to take place from June 15 to July 7 at the United Nations, a text will be negotiated, based on the May 22 draft by the president of the negotiating conference, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica. She aims for conference approval of a text by the end of that session.

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G20 in Hamburg – pathetic

One day after and some rest one may finally ask the question what did the summit achieve for whom politically?

This is the attempt approaching the reality of the G20 summit. It will name the deeply undemocratic and aggressive behavior of the police, the impressive and courageous protest, and the outstanding demonstration of the 76,000 as well as the condemnable actions of the criminal mob. We will learn how many provocateurs were involved. An independent commission is highly needed. Continue reading “G20 in Hamburg – pathetic”

CISP Kazakhstan: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

On July 7, 2017 the text of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was approved at the UN Headquarters in New York City during the final session of negotiations on the development of a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination  (hereinafter – the Conference, negotiations).Despite the efforts of the President of the Conference and States parties to reach a consensus, the Treaty was put on voting. Of the 137 states, 122 voted in favor, 1 against (the Netherlands), and 1 abstained (Singapore). 13 states did not take part in the voting (Andorra, Armenia, Barbados, Cameroon, Guinea, Libya, Monaco, Nauru, Nicaragua, Swaziland, Syria, Macedonia, Zambia).The treaty will be opened for signature on September 20, 2017 within the framework of the High-level Segment of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York and will come into force after its ratification by 50 states.

The NPT and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

There is a different understanding among the UN member states of the interface between the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).The nuclear powers and their allies are convinced that the torpedoing (in their opinion) of negotiations on the prohibition of nuclear weapons is premature, will damage the NPT and, as a consequence, the existing architecture of international security (strategic stability, nuclear deterrence, the principle of undiminished security).So, on March 27, 2017 in New York on the day of the beginning of negotiations, 21 states headed by the United States, Great Britain and France issued a statement to the press against the holding of negotiations.The Russian Federation during the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee of the NPT Review Conference of 2020 in May this year in Vienna stated that: “…this is an erroneous path fraught with unforeseen consequences, including for the NPT. We call on all to remember in New York about responsibility for the NPT and not to prejudice the NPT“. Supporters of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons are convinced that it will not create any legal conflicts with the NPT.On the contrary, the development of the Treaty is aimed at strengthening and developing Article VI of the NPT, according to which the participating States pledged to “… to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament…”.In this regard, the course of discussion at the Conference of Article 18 of the Treaty “Relationship with other agreements” is indicative: «The implementation of this Treaty shall not prejudice obligations undertaken by States Parties with regard to existing international agreements, to which they are party, where those obligations are consistent with the Treaty».Switzerland, Sweden, Singapore, Austria and the Netherlands actively promoted the thesis on the need to exclude the last 8 words of the article “…where those obligations are consistent with the Treaty“. This, in fact, would put the new Treaty in a subordinate position to the NPT and would preserve the right of the “nuclear five” to own nuclear weapons.Subsequently, as it’s known, the Netherlands demanded a vote and voted “against” the new Treaty, while Singapore “abstained“.It is necessary to pay attention to the rather restrained attitude of the UN Secretariat to the new Treaty. Thus, during the speech of the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu at the closing of the Conference on July 7, 2017, she stressed that “the NPT must remain the cornerstone of the global nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament regime“.

Structure of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Iran is the only state among the negotiators who, from the very beginning of the negotiation process, insistently called for the harmonization of the most concise document, the main focus of which will be the legal prohibition on nuclear weapons and the elimination of a legal gap in this area.In March 2017, during the first session of the Conference, Iran drew attention to the fact that “IAEA is the main verification organization. We seriously doubt that the IAEA will be able to play this role, since the IAEA Board of Governors includes, in the main, states that are not present at this Conference“.Ideally, the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons had to be carried out in two stages:- comprehensive prohibition of nuclear weapons (Treaty);- elimination of nuclear weapons, timing and verification mechanisms, as well as the establishment of a specialized Agency for these purposes (Convention).The task of the Treaty was to secure the “point of no return” – the signing and entry into force of the first ever international treaty on the legal prohibition of nuclear weapons.The desire of the states to quickly cover the provisions on the elimination of nuclear weapons in one Treaty, in the future may prejudice the nuclear disarmament process and discredit the competence of the states parties to the Conference.


Unfortunately, the negotiating states very easily agreed not to include the following provisions in the preamble of the Treaty:- advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 8 July, 1996;- Final document of the tenth special session of the General Assembly, of 30 June 1978;

– conferences held on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons;

– conventions on the prohibition of biological (1972) and chemical (1993) weapons.

Earlier, New Zealand at the first session of negotiations in March 2017 rightly noted that “it is necessary to show the path passed by the world community since 1946“.

Prohibitions (Article 1)

The negotiating States parties could not agree on the inclusion of the following prohibitions:- military or other preparations for the use of nuclear weapons;- financing of research in the field of nuclear weapons;- transit of nuclear weapons.It should be noted that the states had to make enormous efforts to include a prohibition on the threat of use of nuclear weapons. Only after Iran’s detailed statement with an overview of the prohibitions on the threat of force in international law did the President of the Conference have to include this provision in the draft Treaty.At the same time, the efforts made by the majority states could not overcome the objection of the minority, in particular, Austria and Singapore, to the inclusion of a prohibition on the transit of nuclear weapons.

Verification of nuclear disarmament (Articles 2-4)

These articles are the “Achilles’ heel” of the Treaty.The following questions arise at the first reading.1. How will the nuclear-weapon States that have signed or acceded to the Treaty agree and can independently adopt a legally-binding plan for the elimination of nuclear weapons?2. The timeframe for a plan for the elimination of nuclear weapons will be interpreted by each state in its own way, which will inevitably cause a different speed of fulfillment of its obligations. This, as a result, will lead to mutual distrust and make it impossible for each state to implement these plans independently. Obviously, this should be a single unified transparent plan for the elimination of nuclear weapons, as approved in the text of the Treaty itself (or in the Comprehensive Convention on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons).3. Definition of the competent international authority (art. 4, para 6): will it be the establishment of a new international authority or the granting of new powers to the operating organization? If the decision is made to empower the existing organization, it will be necessary to make appropriate changes to the Charter, their entry into force, and other organizational issues.In this context, a striking example is the amendment to Article VI of the IAEA Statute adopted in 1999, which increases the number of members of the IAEA Board of Governors from 35 to 43 states. The entry into force of this amendment is not visible in the foreseeable future.Thus, there is a high probability that the requirements of the Treaty on the approval of plans with a time-bound framework for the destruction of nuclear weapons at the national level and the need to determine a competent international authority will lead to an endless prolongation of the implementation of these provisions and make it impossible to implement the Treaty even if nuclear powers accede to the Treaty.The desire of States to take into account, in one document, both the issues of the prohibition on nuclear weapons and their elimination, inevitably led to a weakening of the text of the Treaty.It should be noted that the 2007 Model Nuclear Weapons Convention specifies in sufficient detail what should be reflected in the Declaration of the State, consisting of four parts: nuclear weapons; nuclear material; nuclear facilities and installations; means of delivery.The Model Convention also sets out in detail 5 stages of the elimination of nuclear weapons with a clear time-frame for all nuclear-weapon States.

What’s next?

From September 20, 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will be opened for signature and will enter into force, sooner or later.After persistent calls for nuclear states to accede to the Treaty, the latter will provide an analysis showing that the Treaty, from a practical point of view, is not being implemented and requires significant changes and additions.Over time, it becomes clear that it is necessary to develop and adopt a Comprehensive Convention on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, which will clearly and unambiguously describe the mechanisms for the elimination of nuclear weapons, the establishment for this purpose of a specialized agency and other issues.However, articles 2-4 of the already approved text of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will interfere with its adoption.This can further delay the process of nuclear disarmament.


Despite all of the above, the fact of approving the text of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a historic event in the sphere of nuclear disarmament, and the date, July 7, 2017, will forever be included in the textbooks on disarmament and international security.Already in the very near future – the Conference on Disarmament, the IAEA General Conference, the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the preparatory committees of the NPT Review Conference – the new Treaty will have a direct impact on the nature of their work and the documents.

Alimzhan Akhmetov
Director of the Center for International Security and Policy, Kazakhstan

ICAN: Final Treaty – Content and Impact

What the Treaty Does

Comprehensively bans nuclear weapons and related activity. It will be illegal for parties to undertake any activities related to nuclear weapons. It bans the use, development, testing, production, manufacturing, acquiring, possession, stockpiling, transferring, receiving, threatening to use, stationing, installation, or deploying of nuclear weapons.  [Article 1]

Bans any assistance with prohibited acts. The treaty bans assistance with prohibited acts, and should be interpreted as prohibiting states from engaging in military preparations and planning to use nuclear weapons, financing their development and manufacture, or permitting the transit of them through territorial waters or airspace. [Article 1]

Creates a path for nuclear states which join to eliminate weapons, stockpiles, and programs. It requires states with nuclear weapons that join the treaty to remove them from operational status and destroy them and their programs, all according to plans they would submit for approval. It also requires states which have other country’s weapons on their territory to have them removed. [Article 4]

Verifies and safeguards that states meet their obligations. The treaty requires a verifiable, time-bound, transparent, and irreversible destruction of nuclear weapons and programs and requires the maintenance and/or implementation of international safeguards agreements. The treaty permits safeguards to become stronger over time and prohibits weakening of the safeguard regime. [Articles 3 and 4]

Requires victim and international assistance and environmental remediation. The treaty requires states to assist victims of nuclear weapons use and testing, and requires environmental remediation of contaminated areas. The treaty also obliges states to provide international assistance to support the implementation of the treaty. The text requires states to join the Treaty, and to encourage others to join, as well as to meet regularly to review progress. [Articles 6, 7, and 8]

Next Steps

Adoption. The treaty is scheduled to be adopted on the morning of Friday 7 July.

Opening for signature. The treaty will be open for signature on 20 September at the United Nations in New York. [Article 13]

Entry into force. Fifty states are required to ratify the treaty for it to enter into force.  At a national level, the process of ratification varies, but usually requires parliamentary approval and the development of national legislation to turn prohibitions into national legislation. This process is also an opportunity to elaborate additional measures, such as prohibiting the financing of nuclear weapons. [Article 15]

First meeting of States Parties. The first Meeting of States Parties will take place within a year after the entry into force of the Convention. [Article 8]

Significance and Impact of the Treaty

Delegitimizes nuclear weapons. This treaty is a clear indication that the majority of the world no longer accepts nuclear weapons and do not consider them legitimate weapons, creating the foundation of a new norm of international behaviour.

Changes party and non-party behaviour. As has been true with previous weapon prohibition treaties, changing international norms leads to concrete changes in policies and behaviours, even in states not party to the treaty. This is true for treaties ranging from those banning cluster munitions and land mines to the Convention on the law of the sea. The prohibition on assistance will play a significant role in changing behaviour given the impact it may have on financing and military planning and preparation for their use.

Completes the prohibitions on weapons of mass destruction. The treaty completes work begun in the 1970s, when Chemical weapons were banned, and the 1990s when biological weapons were banned.

Strengthens International Humanitarian Law (“Laws of War”). Nuclear weapons are intended to kill millions of civilians – non-combatants – a gross violation of International Humanitarian Law. Few would argue that the mass slaughter of civilians is acceptable and there is no way to use a nuclear weapon in line with international law. The treaty strengthens these bodies of law and norm.

Remove the prestige associated with proliferation. Countries often seek nuclear weapons for the prestige of being seen as part of an important club. By more clearly making nuclear weapons an object of scorn rather than achievement, their spread can be deterred.

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Joseph Gerson Reports on IPB Ban Treaty Side Event


I am ostensibly on vacation, but I am en route home after a quick trip to New York City where I chaired I side event at the U.N. on the impacts of the Ban Treaty. That is to say how our movements can build on the treaty whose text will be completed Friday.

First advertised by its proponents as the way to completely overcome the nuclear weapons states refusal to fulfill their Article VI Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obligation to engage in good faith negotiations for the complete elimination of their nuclear arsenals, the Treaty is now understood to be a “step” along that way and as a means to reinforce the norm forbidding use and threatened use of nuclear weapons.  The Treaty will apply to states that sign and ratify it (negotiations have been boycotted by the nuclear powers and “umbrella” states – except for the Netherlands) and will prohibit them from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, and deploying; transferring or receiving nuclear weapons. It will prohibit the use and threatened use nuclear weapons; stationing or deployment of nuclear weapons in their countries and territories. It appears that a minimum of 50 states will need to sign and ratify the treaty before it goes into force.

Speakers in our International Peace Bureau panel shared perspectives of movements in non-nuclear weapons states, umbrella states, and nuclear weapons states.  Following is a summary of their comments along with several of those of the 35 people who joined the session:

Linette Ngayu of Kenya and the African Council of Religious Leaders: Their focus will be on winning ratification of countries across Africa. They are very focused on learning the legislative process of each country, identifying the people (targets) needed to win ratification – including the public, building awareness and identifying champions to lead the ratification campaigns in the countries represented in the African Council. After listening to other speakers, Linette expressed her sympathy for those who will have harder uphill struggles to win signings and ratifications.

Susie Snyder of PAX in The Netherlands:  Susi conveyed her excitement and that of many of the negotiators and civil society representatives involved in the negotiations. After the party celebrating the completion of Treaty negotiations this Friday, the focus will be on winning signings by September 19.  Building on and from the Treaty will need to be tailored for specific countries. In the Netherlands, a NATO nation, they have to manage their expectations and will engage in an uphill struggle to get the government to sign the Treaty.  If a couple of NATO states opted to sign the Treaty, it would have enormous impact. The nuclear weapons states will join when they will, but this should not be a priority. Instead, the priority will be working with parliamentarians, the press and the public.  She stressed changing the narrative, focusing on humanitarian consequences rather than traditional security considerations. PAX will also use the Treaty to help build its “Don’t Bank on the Bomb” campaign of divestment from nuclear weapons producers.

Lucas Wirl of the German branch of International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms and IPB was not as hopeful as Susie and underlined the importance of managing our expectations.. That said, the Treaty will be a powerful resource, a “door opener,” for nuclear disarmament organizing in Germany, including the important work of getting the wider peace movement to take on campaigning for nuclear weapons abolition. He stressed that we need to engage our friends in related movements, as well as our foes. After pointing to the destabilization caused by nuclear weapons “modernization”, and NATO’s first-strike doctrine which increase the possibilities of nuclear weapons use, he pointed to the need for increased national and international movement cooperation and exchanges. IPB is currently considering organizing such a strategy session in Geneva at the time of the next NPT PrepCom. He also suggested that on July 7, 2018, the anniversary of the completion of the Treaty negotiations as a time for international actions to support and build on the Treaty.

Kate Alexander of New York Peace Action reinforced the need to manage our expectations, especially in nuclear weapons states, given the $1.2 trillion U.S. commitment to upgrade its nuclear arsenal and delivery systems and other nations’ “modernization” programs. She hopes the Treaty will help to refocus concerns about nuclear weapons to the present, rather than the past of Cold War history. She stressed that the $1.2 trillion could wipe out all U.S. student debt, meet U.S. Paris Climate commitments 400 times over, and more than 400 times the cost of addressing the global refugee crisis. She spoke of the importance of achieving a nuclear weapons free world while the Hibakusha are still with us.

Participant comments and panelists responses included:

  • The need to engage Russia in nuclear disarmament: We need to more deeply engage East European and Russian civil society figures, to deal with NATO’s aggressive policies – in part by a Helsinki II process
  • Education, education, education
  • Where to focus energies in the U.S.: The rising generation of Congressional representatives, senators and governors
  • The only way forward is with grassroots education and organizing
  • Coalition building: building collaborations with all sectors of society: religious, labor, environmental, etc.
  • Nuclear weapons are a symptom of the belief that we can have what we want, and that we can get it through pressure. Our movements need to engage with those who support nuclear weapons by listening, empathy and understanding, and building from there via diplomacy.
  • Learn from and emulate the successes of other movements, especially those engaged in divestment campaigns.

Among the points made by the chair were:

  • The urgency of the moment, especially in light of the U.S.-DPRK confrontation, Trump’s “all options on the table” response, and the need for diplomacy
  • The importance of supporting Jeremy Corbyn and the British movement. Were Corbyn to become Prime Minister and then restate his refusal to push the button and block Trident replacement, a critical process could begin within NATO nations and thus impact the nuclear powers.
  • The importance of will, experimentation, communication among our movements, coalition building beyond single issue silos, and actions across the wide spectrum of means.
  • The importance of using the Abolition 2000 e-list to share news about our successes and how we are building on/working with the BAN Treaty so that we can reinforce one another’s work.

Joseph Gerson

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