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2nd Meeting of States Parties in New York – Day 2

Yesterday, Tuesday 28 November was day 2 of the 2nd Meeting of States Parties at the UN in New York.

Below you will find pictures and a short clip taken from our UNHS representatives in attendance accompanied by a short report.

Report on the second panel discussion which took place from 10am to 1pm EST.

By Lucy Harrow (Pacific piece); Justine Vonpierre (Agency engagement)

The main focus of the discussion was : What can we do to uphold the prohibition on nuclear weapons? 

Moritz Kütt, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Peace and Security Research (IFSH) in Hamburg and leading the Working Group „Science and Disarmament“

M. Kütt mainly spoke about demonstrating the elimination of nuclear weapons on a scientific point of view. Eliminating implies verifying but what needs to be verified? What is the purpose of effective international control?

Elimination, safeguards and strategic stability ( arms control)

Things like nuclear fuel cycle, weaponing use of infrastructure and delivery systems need to be verified, but further areas of research consist of better defining what nuclear weapons programmes are, expanding absence approach and engaging with safe guards.

The research should focus on how to convert nuclear weapons facilities.

Richard Lennane, member of the International Committee of the Red Cross. 

He mentioned areas of opportunity for innovative policies and stressed the need to ensure the prominence of humanitarian considerations in global discourse on nuclear weapons.

He reminds us that nuclear weapons are not some sort of magic and exceptional creation beyond the law!

How to move forward? Create TPNW working groups on communication and change the narrative. Work on the universalisation of TPNW ideas. This is already going on. He gave some examples:

  • 1st committee on Victims assistance and environmental radiation has been created into NTP review process

  • Update 1987 WHO report on health effects of Nuclear wars .

Hidehiko Yuzaki, the governor of Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan also a survivor of the bombing in Hiroshima and a strong activists for nuclear disarmament 

His main idea is to build a new alternative security system without nuclear deterrence and therefore without mistrust .

He mentioned the need to include nuclear weapons impact on human and environment in SDGs global goals ("post-SDGs global goals ") to link nuclear disarmament with the concept of sustainability and prosperous future.

Quoting the example of Hiroshima, he reminded to us that using nuclear weapons means killing life but also implies the destruction of entire families, cultural heritage and civilization that wouldn't be able to re-exist. He encourages everyone to come and visit places destroyed by nuclear weapons such as Hiroshima. 

Karina Lester, an ICAN ambassador and anti-nuclear activist from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in the North West of South Australia.

She belongs to the 2nd generation of survivors of British nuclear tests ( 1953) in south Australia. She gave a moving statement of her life and family in Australia affected by the testing. Her dad lost his sight, the community suffered and is still tremendously suffering, soils are contaminated. She stressed the fact that nuclear weapons narrative are disconnected from the ugly reality and the suffering of the people affected . 

She explained how important it is to listen to the voices of survivors and victims, to capture their testimonies. However, one main problem in the communication process is that first nation people speak other languages and don't have translaters to share their stories. I quote from her 

"We want the respect and we want to start discussions on how to repare what has been done"; "We want medical reports ".

On impact, "we want more research on health impacts and environmental impacts".

" We want our contaminated land to be cleaned up".

Moreover, " we want apologies".

Ereti Tekabwaia, Principal Tourism Officer at Tourism Authority of Kiribati, and Kiritimati Youth

She gave a moving statement about the repetitive nuclear testing in Christmas Island by US and British governments in the 60's.

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