Hiroshima/Nagasaki Anniversary Must Spur Efforts to End Nuclear Weapons

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This week’s 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with 250,000 killed and many more suffering terrible effects on their health, is a sombre reminder of the appalling destruction of nuclear weapons and should spur international efforts to eliminate them.

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“With rising global tensions and the retreat by many governments from international negotiations and multilateral solutions, the risks of nuclear conflict are very real. This sad anniversary must give impetus to getting nuclear weapons countries around the table to bring an end to the possibility of a nuclear holocaust, by decommissioning existing arsenals and stopping the production of new nuclear weapons. In addition to the risk of annihilation, the sheer cost of maintain these arsenals is unacceptable. The money spent on them should be put to socially and economically useful purposes, including conversion of facilities to peaceful purposes,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

The existing framework for nuclear arms control and reduction is close to total collapse, with the US and Russian withdrawal from the INF Treaty on intermediate-range nuclear forces. Some discussions between the two largest nuclear weapons powers have begun, on replacing the START nuclear arms reduction treaty, however China and other nuclear armed states are not part of the talks. The US has announced withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty, which allows aerial monitoring of arms facilities in other countries, claiming that Russia was not complying with its obligations under the Treaty.

“The world simply must be rid of all weapons of mass destruction, for security today and for future generations. That is why support for the Non-Proliferation Treaty is so vital, and why all countries should ratify the treaty to ban all nuclear weapons,” said Burrow.

The 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has already been ratified by 40 countries, and will come into force when 50 countries have ratified it https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/tpnw/ .

Statement of the UN Secretary General: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/speeches/2019-09-26/commemoration-of-int-day-for-elimination-of-nuclear-weapons-remarks