The human costs associated with nuclear warfare drive an effort to sign a ban treaty

Two of the three kinds that comprise weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological, and chemical weapons, along with Landmines and Cluster munitions, have a strict set of conventions that ban them. The premise for these conventions was their effects on human rights; these weapons have such a devastating impact that they shouldn’t be utilized.

However, using nuclear weapons, which are arguably the most destructive of all – is not legally prohibited by international law. Countries that do not possess nuclear weapons, along with non-governmental organizations, have been trying to ban them for quite a while.

Human cost

The world was witness to the devastating effects of nuclear weapons in 1945 when they carried out the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, the destruction caused to the cities with today’s extremely fundamental atomic bombs did not result in their ban.

Hiroshima commemorates its 70th anniversary since the US dropped a nuclear bomb in the town. Toru Hanai/Reuters

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) that came into force in the year 1970 and was extended indefinitely by 1995 does not prohibit the use of these weapons. However, Article IV of the document also calls for all parties to the treaty to come up with “a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

Unfortunately, the complexities that characterized the Cold War meant that nuclear weapons remained an integral element of international politics and national security. It was only after the close of the Cold War that questions about the nuclear arsenal and the devastating effects they had had to be considered.

In 1996 in 1996 1996, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion regarding the threat and use of nuclear weaponry. It stated that using nuclear weapons “would generally be contrary” to “the principles and rules of humanitarian law”.

In 1997, a group comprised of concerned scientists, lawyers, doctors and academics, former diplomats, and activists created a model Nuclear Weapons Convention. The idea was conceived by international NGOs, like those of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA), the model was then presented for consideration by the UN General Assembly by Costa Rica in the same year.

The document was updated in 2007 to incorporate important developments since 1997. It was submitted again to Costa Rica and Malaysia to the UN General Assembly that year. It was later released to the UN General Assembly as the officially-issued document in 2008.

Reuters Photographer

In 2010, The president of the International Commission of the Red Cross pointed out the importance of human rights considerations in his declaration concerning nuclear weapons in Geneva. In addition, at the NPT Review Conference the same year, the governments declared their concern in their last document that they were “deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”.

States, international organizations as well as civil society organized meetings in 2013, and the year 2014 which addressed the impact on human rights on nuclear weaponry.

However, even though it was true that the ” Humanitarian Pledge” that was issued in 2014 stressed the fact that nuclear weapons are dangerous enough to allow their existence, none the nations with nuclear weapons has endorsed the notion. Also, none of the US allies who were protected under the nation’s nuclear umbrella.

Oppositional positions

In 2016 there were three meetings of United Nations’ open-ended working group that was advancing nuclear disarmament discussions were held for an average of 15 days. They resulted in more than 100 countries expressing support for the beginning of negotiations for the need to have a treaty that bans nuclear weapons.

The process, in turn, led to an UN General Assembly resolution that urged states to engage in multilateral negotiations to ban nuclear weapons within the next year. It is not surprising that no of the nations that possess nuclear weapons took part in any of the talks. Each of them probably won’t attend the newest round of talks, either.

In the meantime, two opposing viewpoints emerged among countries who do not possess nuclear weapons. This added another chasm to the gap between countries that have nukes and states that don’t.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *