International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons – 26th September

By – Nikita, SY BA LLB Div B

The International Day was assigned by the General Assembly of the United Nations in resolution 68/32. It was assigned to follow up the eminent discussion on disarmament of Nuclear weapons carried out in New York on September 26 in 2013. The latest act in series of the initiative was efforts by General Assembly to get more considerable engagement and promote nuclear disarmament. “The United Nations General Assembly designated August 29 as International Day against Nuclear Tests (resolution 64/35) in 2009.”

In the resolution 68/32, the General Assembly of the United Nations asked for the “immediate initiation of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament of a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons to prohibit their possession, development, production, testing, stockpiling, transfer, and use or threat of use, and to provide for their destruction.” Since 2014, the “International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” has been commemorated every year. The Civil society involving parliamentarians, academia, NGOs, Individual citizens and Mass media, The system of United Nations, and all the states that are members of United Nations are encouraged for commemoration and promotion of the International Day following the resolution of the General Assembly by increasing awareness, information, and knowledge among the public regarding the threat that nuclear weapons posed towards humanity and that one needs to eliminate the use of nuclear weapons. The event conducted both at Geneva and in New York for the commemoration of “International Day” has been supported by the United Nations. The Information Centres of the United Nations that are present around the globe are sponsored for the observation of “International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.”

One of the United Nations’ oldest goals is to achieve worldwide nuclear disarmament. “It was the subject of the United Nations General Assembly’s first resolution in 1946, which established the Atomic Energy Commission (which was dissolved in 1952) with the mission of making specific proposals for the control of nuclear energy and the elimination of atomic weapons and all other major weapons of mass destruction.” Since then, the United Nations has been at the forefront of numerous important diplomatic initiatives to advance nuclear disarmament. The UNGA supported the goal of widespread and comprehensive disarmament in 1959. “In 1978, the United Nations General Assembly’s first Special Session on Disarmament acknowledged that nuclear disarmament should be the top priority in the field of disarmament.” Every Secretary-General of the United Nations has vigorously pushed this goal.

Despite this, there are approximately 13,080 nuclear weapons in existence today. Nuclear weapons-wielding countries have well-funded, long-term plans to update their arsenals. More than half of the global population lives in states with nuclear weapons or are a party to nuclear alliances. “Even though the number of deployed nuclear weapons has decreased significantly since the Cold War’s peak, no nuclear weapon has been physically destroyed as a result of a treaty. Furthermore, no nuclear disarmament talks are currently taking place.”

Meanwhile, nuclear deterrence remains an integral part of the protection policy of all nuclear weapons states and many of their allies. “The worldwide arms-control structure, which has served as a brake on the utilization of nuclear weapons and advanced nuclear disarmament since the end of the Cold War,” is under increasing strain. The United States’ withdrawal on August 2, 2019, signaled the end of the “Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty,” under which the US and the Russian Federation had agreed to eliminate an entire range of nuclear missiles. Member states and the UN Secretary-General, on the other hand, have “welcomed the extension of the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms” (“new START”) until February 2026. This extension gives the two countries with the most significant nuclear arsenals the chance to agree on further arms control measures.

Member states are becoming increasingly frustrated with what they perceive to be the slow progress of nuclear disarmament. Growing fears about the terrible humanitarian repercussions of even a single nuclear weapon, let alone a regional or global nuclear war, have heightened this frustration.

The “International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” was declared by the United Nations General Assembly on September 26. This Day gives the international community a chance to reaffirm its commitment to global nuclear disarmament as a top priority. “It provides an opportunity to inform the general public – and their leaders – about the true benefits of eliminating such weapons, as well as the social and economic drawbacks of continuing to use them.” Given the UN’s universal membership and considerable experience dealing with nuclear disarmament challenges, commemorating this Day is exceptionally essential. It is ideal for addressing one of humanity’s most pressing issues: establishing peace and security in a society free of nuclear weapons.

As stated in General Assembly resolution 68/32 and subsequent resolutions, the purpose of the International Day is to advance the goal of total nuclear weapons elimination by raising public awareness and education about the threat that nuclear weapons pose to humanity and the need for their total elimination. It is intended that by doing so, these actions will contribute to the mobilization of fresh international initiatives aimed at realizing the common objective of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

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