If the United States were to give its support to this new endeavor, it would go a long way towards reaffirming the United States’ commitment to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and international humanitarian law.
While concerns about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons have always existed, Jakob Kellenberger, the former president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was instrumental in bringing this issue to the forefront of the international nuclear weapons discussion.
Both in the scale of the devastation they cause, and in their uniquely persistent and hazardous radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons.
A single nuclear bomb detonated over a large city could kill millions of people.
Nuclear weapons continue to be one of the most serious threats to international peace and security around the world.
They are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created.The first conference was held in March 2013 in Oslo, Norway where 128 states participated; the second in Nayarit, Mexico, in February 2014 where 146 states participated; and the third in Vienna, Austria in December 2014 with 158 states participating.All included the voices of relevant United Nations agencies, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, academia and non-governmental organizations.While the pledge does not specifically call for a ban, a majority of the more than 120 states endorsing it see the pledge as a political commitment towards negotiating a legally binding instrument that would prohibit nuclear weapons.The prohibition of weapons typically precedes their elimination, not the other way around.While nuclear-armed states remain opposed to a treaty banning nuclear weapons, it can still be undertaken by non-nuclear weapon states.Of course, like the biological and chemical weapons conventions, a nuclear weapons ban would allow nations with stockpiles of these weapons to join so long as they agree to eliminate them within a specified timeframe.Just a few weeks before the 2010 NPT Review Conference, Mr.Kellenberger emphasized that: Nuclear weapons are unique in their destructive power, in the unspeakable human suffering they cause, in the impossibility of controlling their effects in space and time, in the risks of escalation they create, and in the threat they pose to the environment, to future generations, and indeed to the survival of humanity.For example, prohibitions of biological and chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions have been essential steps in ongoing efforts toward eliminating these weapons.Considering the evolution of international humanitarian law since nuclear weapons were first developed and the fact that by almost any definition the use of nuclear weapons would be incredibly destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate, it remains unacceptable that nuclear weapons are not yet prohibited.