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Breakdown of L.41 Voting Result


States that voted yes

Of the 123 sates that voted yes to resolution L.41, 44 were from Africa, 29 from Latin America & the Caribbean, 12 from Western Asia, 11 from Southeast Asia, 11 from the Pacific, six from Western Europe, five from South Asia, and two from Central Asia.

Non-voting states

Of the 16 states that did not participate in the vote, 11 are Pledge endorsers (Afghanistan, Benin, Djibouti, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Mongolia, São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles and Tajikistan). Two of the non-voting states were co-sponsors of L.41 (Honduras and Liberia). The other non-voting states were Georgia, Moldova, South Sudan, Syria and Ukraine.

Abstaining states

Of the 16 states that abstained from voting, six are Pledge endorsers (Guyana, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Nicaragua, Sudan and Vanuatu). The other abstaining states were Armenia, Belarus, China, Finland, India, Morocco, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Switzerland and Uzbekistan.

States that voted no

Of the 38 states that voted no, 27 are members of NATO and two are NATO “aspirant countries” (Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro). Two Pledge endorsers voted no (Andorra and Serbia). The other states that voted no were Australia, Israel, Japan, Micronesia, Monaco, the Republic of Korea and Russia.



Most African states voted yes. Seven did not participate in the vote (Benin, Djibouti, Liberia, São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, South Sudan) and three abstained (Mali, Morocco, Sudan). No African state voted against the resolution.

Latin America & Caribbean

Of the 33 Latin American and Caribbean states, 29 voted yes to the resolution. Two abstained (Guyana, Nicaragua) and two were absent (Haiti and Honduras). No state from the region voted against the resolution.

South & Southeast Asia

All Southeast Asian states voted yes to the resolution. Of the eight South Asian states (members of SAARC), five voted yes (Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka), two abstained (India and Pakistan) and one was absent (Afghanistan).

Central Asia

Of the five Central Asian states, two voted yes to the resolution (Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan), two abstained (Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan) and one was absent (Tajikistan).

Western Asia

Most Western Asian states voted yes to the resolution (Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Yemen). Two voted no (Israel and Turkey), one abstained (Armenia) and two were absent (Georgia and Syria).

Western Europe

Most Western European states voted against the resolution. Only Austria, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Malta, San Marino and Sweden voted yes, while Finland, the Netherlands and Switzerland abstained. Five European Union members voted yes (Austria, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and Sweden).

Eastern Europe

Most Eastern European states voted against the resolution. Two voted yes (Azerbaijan and Macedonia), two abstained (Armenia and Belarus) and three were absent (Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine).


Ten of the 12 Pacific island states voted yes to the resolution. One voted no (Micronesia) and one abstained (Vanuatu). The Cook Islands and Niue, which are Pledge endorsers, did not participate in the vote, as they are not UN members. New Zealand voted yes and Australia voted no.

Governments submit draft resolution to commence ban treaty negotiations

A group of governments have submitted a draft UN General Assembly resolution to start negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons. The document was circulated on Wednesday by its lead sponsors Austria, Mexico, South Africa, Ireland, Brazil and Nigeria and follows on from the recommendation of a UN Working Group, at which the overwhelming majority of states supported the call for ban treaty negotiations in 2017.

The draft resolution would convene a UN conference to “negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading toward their total elimination” and would take place over 2 sessions comprising a total of 20 days in 2017.

The adoption of this resolution would mark a major breakthrough for nuclear disarmament. Nuclear weapons are the only weapon of mass destruction not yet explicitly banned by an international treaty, unlike chemical and biological weapons. In recent years this has come to be considered an anomaly and an obstacle to progress on nuclear disarmament.

Announcing the resolution at the UN General Assembly in New York, Austria’s foreign minister, Sebastian Kurz said that “experience shows that the first step to eliminate weapons of mass destruction is to prohibit them through legally binding norms”.

Opposition to the resolution from the nuclear-armed states is expected to be fierce. Already they have sent “démarches”, or diplomatic instructions, demanding that governments withdraw their support for ban treaty negotiations. Many expect this pressure to continue behind closed doors during consultations on the resolution in New York.

The negotiations of the ban treaty will pose very uncomfortable questions to the group of non-nuclear weapon states in nuclear weapons alliances with nuclear-armed states. Several of these governments have already faced significant domestic pressure for their opposition to the negotiation of a prohibition of nuclear weapons. Australia was widely criticized for attempting to thwart the recommendation of a ban treaty at the recent UN Working Group in Geneva, while the governments of the Netherlands and Norway have also been rebuked for their opposition to the ban by the political majority in their own national parliaments.

“This is an historic breakthrough in global efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. A treaty banning nuclear weapons will be of enormous importance in establishing a clear, legal rejection of these weapons by the majority of the international community and has the potential to jump start the nuclear disarmament movement – even in the face of resistance from the nuclear-armed states,” said Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN.

The voting on the resolution will take place at the end of October or early November.


UN talks recommend negotiations of nuclear weapons ban treaty

In a dramatic final day, the groundbreaking UN talks on nuclear disarmament concluded by making a clear recommendation to start negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

Known as the “Open-Ended Working Group” (OEWG), the talks have taken place in February, May and August of this year and have outlined a number of elements that should be included in a new legally binding instrument which prohibits nuclear weapons. The majority support for the ban treaty was clearly underlined by joint statements delivered by Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Pacific as well as statements from several European states.

Resistance continued to come throughout the working group from a small group of states who continued to argue that nuclear weapons are essential to their national security. Despite threatening to block a report which contained a recommendation for a ban treaty, these governments did not have the leverage to thwart the successful outcome of the group.

After long deliberations, it seemed that States were going to agree to a compromised report which reflected the views of both sides of the ban treaty issue. However, after this agreement had seemingly been secured behind closed doors, Australia made a last-second turnaround and announced that it was objecting to the draft of the report and called for a vote. In spite of the opposition from Australia and several other pro-nuclear weapon states, the majority was able to carry the day. On that basis, the working group was able to recommend the start of negotiations on a new legal instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons.

This breakthrough is result of the new global discourse on nuclear weapons. Bringing together governments, academia and civil society, a series of three conferences have uncovered new evidence about the devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the risks of their use, whether accidental or intentional. The momentum generated by the “humanitarian initiative” has now culminated with the international community on the verge of negotiating a nuclear weapons ban.

Nuclear weapons remain the only weapons of mass destruction not yet prohibited under international law, despite their inhumane and indiscriminate nature. A ban would not only make it illegal for nations to use or possess nuclear weapons; it would also help pave the way to their complete elimination. Nations committed to reaching the goal of abolition have shown that they are ready to start negotiations next year.

It is now up to the October meeting of the UN General Assembly First Committee to bring forward this process by issuing a mandate to start the negotiating process.

Photo: Xanthe Hall


OEWG reconvenes in Geneva: What’s at stake?

United Nations nuclear disarmament talks have reconvened in Geneva for the third and final time. At this final session the group, known as the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG), is tasked with producing a final report which will contain a summary of the discussions that have taken place in February and May of this year and a set of recommendations for future action by governments. This report will then be submitted to the UN General Assembly in the fall.

In defiance of the continued boycott of the talks by the nine nuclear-armed states, the overwhelming majority of governments throughout the OEWG’s meetings this year have nevertheless demanded the prohibition of nuclear weapons under international law. These calls have come in the form of national statements, joint statements and working papers submitted to the group for discussion. Many believe that the OEWG will, on this basis, recommend negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons as the most viable and effective route available to States to break the status quo in nuclear disarmament. These governments believe that such a treaty would have practical, political and normative impacts even if the nuclear-armed states refuse to participate.

However, a small group of States, mainly comprised of non-nuclear weapon states which claim to rely on nuclear weapons for their national security have sought to block any recommendation in the report which calls for a ban treaty. The German delegation delivered a statement on behalf of this group refusing to accept negotiations for the prohibition of nuclear weapons as recommendation since it did not “balance national security concerns, take heed of the international situation, and have buy-in from those states that actually possess nuclear weapons.” These States argued in favor of instead including recommendations on mainly non-proliferation measures that have been blocked for up to 20 years.

As ICAN said in its statement to the OEWG last Friday, August 5:

We are clear that the strong support for negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons expressed by the majority of states in this forum provides the necessary impetus and foundation for negotiations to commence in 2017.  We expect a mandate for such negotiations to be adopted this year – and that all states who are committed to preventing the devastating humanitarian risks and consequences of nuclear weapons will work together to prohibit and eliminate them, with the urgency that this demands.

The fair and accurate reflection of the will of the majority must be reflected in the OEWG’s final report. Nevertheless, if the support that the ban treaty has garnered at the OEWG is anything to go by, it seems likely that a resolution mandating the start of negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban will be tabled for a vote at the UN General Assembly in October.

The OEWG will continue its deliberations on August 16th, 17th and 19th at the United Nations in Geneva.

To Barack Obama from Setsuko Thurlow

In June Setsuko Thurlow was awarded the Arms Control Person of the Year Award and a group of us travelled to Washington DC to celebrate with her.  During this time she met with Ben Rhodes, President Barack Obama’s speech writer, who accompanied him to Hiroshima this past Spring.  Setsuko and Ben had a friendly exchange of views, during which time she ask him to hand deliver a letter to President Obama.  Although she left the envelope open so Ben could read the contents before passing it on, he declined stating: “I want the President to be the first to read you letter and I promise to have it in his hands by late this afternoon.”  We still haven’t heard a response from Mr. Obama to Setsuko’s heartfelt critique of his Hiroshima speech and nuclear policy.  While we wait, she wanted our ICAN colleagues to read the contents and see how each one of us inspires her continued passion and action for disarmament. – Kathleen Sullivan, Hibakusha Stories


Dear President Obama,

Since your historic visit to Hiroshima in May, several people have been asking me to share my thoughts.  What would I have said to you directly if we’d had an opportunity to sit down and speak face to face?

The first thing that comes to mind that I would have shared with you is an image of my four-year-old nephew Eiji — transformed into a charred, blackened and swollen child who kept asking in a faint voice for water until he died in agony.  Had he not been a victim of the atomic bomb, he would be 75 years old this year. This idea shocks me. Regardless of the passage of time, he remains in my memory as a 4-year-old child who came to represent all the innocent children of the world.  And it is this death of innocents that has been the driving force for me to continue my struggle against the ultimate evil of nuclear weapons.  Eiji’s image is burnt into my retina.

Many survivors have been passing in recent years with their dreams of nuclear abolition unfulfilled.  Their motto was, “abolition in our lifetime”.  The reality of our twilight years intensifies our sense of urgency, now met with stronger commitment.  When you say: “it may not happen in my lifetime”, this gives us enormous grief.

I was not in Hiroshima when you visited, but I understand it was packed with media, and I could tell that of course your visit was carefully controlled and choreographed: who sat where; who were invited to approach you; the children and hibakusha who were hand picked by the Japanese Foreign Ministry. But still you came.  Your speech was heartfelt but it avoided the issue.  I know from my personal experience as hellish as all war is nothing can be equivalent to nuclear violence.

You said, “Mere words cannot give voice to such suffering. But we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.” To me your words echoed those of former German President Richard von Weizeker’s inspiring speech on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Germany’s surrender.  Many Japanese people were deeply inspired by the manner in which he confronted the past and dealt with wartime atrocities with integrity, when he said, “We Germans must look truth straight in the eye – without embellishment and without distortion… There can be no reconciliation without remembrance.”

The Japanese Government should emulate this profound sentiment in confronting the past and dealing with our as yet unresolved relationships with neighboring countries, particularly Korea and China.  Tragically, the current Abe Administration is seeking to expand Japan’s military role in the region and forsake our much-cherished Peace Constitution.

And in the United States, as you are no doubt aware, an unfortunate remembrance has been underway.  The National Park Service and the Department of Energy will establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.  Unlike the memorials at Auschwitz and Treblinka, the United States seeks to preserve the history of the once top-secret sites at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Hanford, as a sort of celebration of that technological ‘achievement’. Among the first so-called ‘successes’ of this endeavor was creating hell on earth in my beloved Hiroshima.

Is this how we should ensure that the “memory of the morning of Aug. 6, 1945, must never fade”?

As a 13-year-old schoolgirl, I witnessed my city of Hiroshima blinded by the flash, flattened by the hurricane-like blast, burned in the heat of 4000 degrees Celsius and contaminated by the radiation of one atomic bomb.  A bright summer morning turned to dark twilight with smoke and dust rising in the mushroom cloud, dead and injured covering the ground, begging desperately for water and receiving no medical care at all.  The spreading firestorm and the foul stench of burnt flesh filled the air.

Miraculously, I was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building, about 1.8 kilometers from Ground Zero.  Most of my classmates in the same room were burned alive.  I can still hear their voices calling their mothers and God for help.  As I escaped with two other surviving girls, we saw a procession of ghostly figures slowly shuffling from the centre of the city. Grotesquely wounded people, whose clothes were tattered, or who were made naked by the blast.  They were bleeding, burnt, blackened and swollen.  Parts of their bodies were missing, flesh and skin hanging from their bones, some with their eyeballs hanging in their hands, and some with their stomachs burst open, with their intestines hanging out.

Through months and years of struggle for survival, rebuilding lives out of the ashes, we survivors, or ‘hibakusha’, became convinced that no human being should ever have to repeat our experience of the inhumane, immoral, and cruel atomic bombing.  And it is our mission, to warn the world about the reality of the nuclear threat; and to help people understand the illegality and ultimate evil of nuclear weapons. We believe that humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist.

And still today, to paraphrase President Kennedy, the sword of Damocles dangles evermore perilously.  Most experts agree that nuclear weapons are more dangerous now than at any point in our history due to a wide variety of risks including: geopolitical saber rattling, human error, computer failure, complex systems failure, increasing radioactive contamination in the environment and its toll on public and environmental health, as well as the global famine and climate chaos that would ensue should a limited use of nuclear weapons occur by accident or design.

Thus, we have a moral imperative to abolish nuclear arsenals, in order to ensure a safe and just world for future generations.  As you said in Hiroshima, “we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them.”

Why then, with all due respect to you Mr. President, is the US government boycotting the United Nations disarmament negotiations born of the Humanitarian Initiative, the most significant advance for nuclear disarmament in a generation?

Within the last five years, I have witnessed the rapid development of a global movement involving states without nuclear weapons and NGOs working together to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons.  This movement has shown beyond all doubt that nuclear weapons are first and foremost a grave humanitarian problem, and that the terrible risks of these weapons cast all techno-military considerations into irrelevance. Following three International Conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons – inexcusably boycotted by your administration – 127 nations have joined the Humanitarian Pledge to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. These nations are calling on Nuclear Weapon States and those who stand with them, to begin a process for nuclear disarmament.

To repeat the words of Richard von Weizeker: “We must look truth straight in the eye – without embellishment and without distortion.”  The truth is, we all live with the daily threat of nuclear weapons. In every silo, on every submarine, in the bomb bays of airplanes, every second of every day, nuclear weapons, thousands on high alert, are poised for deployment threatening everyone we love and everything we hold dear.

Last month in Japan you poignantly said: “That is why we come to Hiroshima. So that we might think of people we love. The first smile from our children in the morning. The gentle touch from a spouse over the kitchen table. The comforting embrace of a parent. We can think of those things and know that those same precious moments took place here, 71 years ago.”

I beg you to reframe this profound sentiment to understand that the people we love, our smiling children, the embrace of loved ones, these precious moments and precious people are all under threat of annihilation because of the existence of nuclear weapons, and the policy of deterrence that you currently authorize and provide for nations under the US nuclear umbrella, including my home country Japan.  This perversion, in its truest sense, means that the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack in war now seeks its own protection through far more diabolical hydrogen bombs.  And you Mr. Obama, the only sitting US President to visit Hiroshima, came accompanied by a duty bound officer with the nuclear briefcase, should you need the codes to command a remote missileer to insert a floppy disc as a prelude to the end of life on earth.

If you truly wanted to hasten our “own moral awakening” through making nuclear disarmament a reality, here are three immediate steps:

1. Stop the U.S. boycott of international nuclear disarmament meetings and join the 127 countries that have endorsed the Humanitarian Pledge to create a new legal instrument and new norms for a nuclear weapons ban treaty as a first step in their elimination and prohibition.

2. Stop spending money to modernize the US nuclear arsenal, a staggering $1 trillion over the next three decades, and use this money to meet human needs and protect our environment.

3. Take nuclear weapons off high alert and review the aging command and control systems that have been the subject of recent research exposing a culture of neglect and the alarming regularity of accidents involving nuclear weapons.

President Obama, you uniquely have the power to enact real change.  This could be your legacy. To usher in an era of real disarmament where lifting the threat of nuclear war could ease all people to “go through their day in peace. What a precious thing that is. It is worth protecting, and then extending to every child.”
Yours sincerely,

Setsuko Thurlow

Photo credit: Paule Saviano

ICAN Statement at Final OEWG Session

ICAN statement to OEWG, 5 Aug 2016

The catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and the risks they pose to all our nations demand an urgent response. The evidence presented to the Open Ended Working Group has demonstrated this once again, and it has been an important process for states to discuss how the international community should respond to this, within a framework that has been open and inclusive.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons comprises 440 non-governmental organisations in almost 100 countries.  We are convinced that getting a new international legal instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons is both necessary and achievable. We welcome the Open Ended Working Group’s inclusiveness and recognition of civil society’s important role.

We have been encouraged by the thoughtful discussions at the Open Ended Working Group this year. The support expressed here by a majority of states for the negotiation of a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons is clear in both the narrative of the Chair’s draft report, and in its recommendations. As the draft report notes, states have supported such a treaty as an appropriate and necessary response to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, and as the most viable option for progress on nuclear disarmament going forward.

A treaty banning nuclear weapons will strengthen international law and the global norm and stigma against these weapons of mass destruction. It will clarify that they are inhumane and unacceptable. The range of prohibitions included would also have clear practical impacts.

We welcome the accurate reflection of states’ support for a prohibition treaty in the Chair’s draft report, and would reject any attempt to downgrade or remove this clear majority position from the narrative or recommendations in any way. It is important for the credibility of the report that these references remain as accurate conclusions and recommendations, and given equal status with any other conclusions and recommendations supported by the majority of states.

We also welcome recognition in the draft report of states’ and others’ call that negotiations on a prohibition treaty should be open to and inclusive of all states, international organisations and civil society. We would expect participation in negotiations from all states that are committed to multilateral nuclear disarmament and the elimination of nuclear weapons. We emphasise that negotiations must not be subject to vetos wielded by any state, and so must not rely on consensus rules.

The text of the Chair’s draft report will be the subject of further discussions over the next weeks, and we look forward to participating in these.  There are areas within the draft report that we consider should be strengthened to more accurately reflect the commitment to negotiations on a prohibition treaty that were expressed at the Open Ended Working Group. We will be raising these points in due course.

We are clear that the strong support for negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons expressed by the majority of states in this forum provides the necessary impetus and foundation for negotiations to commence in 2017.  We expect a mandate for such negotiations to be adopted this year – and that all states who are committed to preventing the devastating humanitarian risks and consequences of nuclear weapons will work together to prohibit and eliminate them, with the urgency that this demands.

8 out of 10 Swedes want the government to pursue a ban on nuclear weapons

In April, the Swedish Physicians Against Nuclear Weapons carried out an opinion poll in Sweden on whether the Swedish government should work towards a ban on nuclear weapons.

The result showed that 8 out of 10 agree that Sweden should actively pursue a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

“When the rhetoric of nuclear-armed states gets more aggressive and they spend up to a trillion USD on modernizing their nuclear arsenals, the world needs to stand up against continued reliance on these weapons and the promotion of deterrence doctrines. It is time for non-nuclear weapon states, including Sweden, to start a process to outlaw nuclear weapons through a global agreement,” says Andreas Tolf, President of Swedish Physicians Against Nuclear Weapons.

One of the most important aspects of the poll is that the ban treaty gets huge support from all political parties. 79% of the conservative block voters and 92% of the government coalition and left wing party voters wants the government to work for a ban on nuclear weapons.

“This is an important sign of a broad cross-party support and unity of the Swedish people for a ban treaty,” says Tolf, “We hope Margot Wallström and the Foreign Ministry take this opportunity and commit the government to a progressive policy in favour of banning the most destructive and inhumane weapon ever made,” he continues.

Sweden has a long and proud history of disarmament, and this is an important part of the Sweden’s image in the international arena. Unfortunately, Sweden has not yet signed the Humanitarian Pledge and joined the 127 states that are pushing for action on this.

In March, a humanitarian law and disarmament delegation was appointed by the Foreign Minister to look into Swedish endorsement of the Humanitarian Pledge. The delegation will make its recommendation to the Foreign Minister on this issue in June.

While in opposition, the Social Democrats had for a long time criticized the conservative government for not doing enough on nuclear disarmament. Now civil society in Sweden are calling out the Social Democrats for the slow pace of change they have pursued since being elected nearly two years ago.

To support the efforts to ban nuclear weapons is the right way to go for the Swedish government. The Foreign Minister should listen to the strong call from the Swedish people in favour of a ban on nuclear weapons.

PAX on nuclear weapons

PAX is a proud member of ICAN and adapts nuclear disarmament campaigns to the Dutch and international context. PAXinforms, mobilizes and speaks out for nuclear disarmament and produces the annual Don’t Bank on the Bomb global study on investments in nuclear weapons producers.

This year our Dutch campaigners have been celebrating various national successes: As a result of the citizen’s initiative by PAX, ASN Bank and the Dutch Red Cross (supported by 45.608 Dutch citizens, including large group of mayors, VIPs and religious and political leaders) a vast majority of Dutch Parliament is now calling upon the government to start working internationally for a nuclear weapons ban.

Watch the video to find out more about this ICAN partner in the Netherlands!

Obama visits Hiroshima while modernizing US nuclear arsenals

As US President Barack Obama prepares for a historic visit to Hiroshima, the place where one nuclear detonation caused over 140,000 casualties, the United States is embarking on a massive nuclear weapons modernization programme of 1 trillion USD – ensuring that the US will be nuclear-armed for decades to come.

The Obama administration is reportedly developing new nuclear missiles with smaller yields and better targeting – “more usable” nuclear weapons – and has boycotted all attempts to negotiate a global prohibition of nuclear weapons.

“Obama’s visit to Hiroshima comes at a time when the risk of a nuclear detonation is at its highest since the end of the Cold War”, says Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN. “Over the past seven years, the US nuclear policy has been nothing but disappointing for those who believed that Obama could make real change on nuclear weapons – in particular its boycott of a promising new process to ban nuclear weapons.”

The President’s call from Prague in 2009 to ‘put an end to the cold war thinking’ and reduce the role of nuclear weapons in the US and its allies’ security strategies has not been matched by action. All nuclear-armed states and states under the US nuclear umbrella continue to rely heavily on nuclear weapons in their security strategies despite numerous commitments to disarm.

In Hiroshima Obama will be accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is also facing harsh criticism domestically for his hypocritical position on nuclear weapons, calling for nuclear disarmament while continuing to rely on US nuclear weapons and opposing progress on a new treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

The Obama administration has failed to engage with the growing movement of non-nuclear weapon states pushing for a prohibition of nuclear weapons, the so-called Humanitarian Pledge. Earlier in May, the US boycotted a UN working group set up by the UN General Assembly to discuss new legal measures for nuclear disarmament. For its part, Japan participated in the UN talks, only to oppose the start of a process to negotiate a ban , claiming reliance on nuclear weapons is necessary for its national securityDespite the boycott by the US and other nuclear-armed states, the majority of states in the world are ready to start negotiations of a new treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

“Given their absence or negative participation in the UN talks in Geneva in May, their symbolic call for a nuclear-free world is ironical,” said Akira Kawasaki of Peace Boat. “If the two leaders are serious about nuclear disarmament, why don’t they join the global movement calling for a process to ban nuclear weapons?” he asked. “A visit to Hiroshima is not enough. The real test to evaluate their commitment will be whether they will support a global process of negotiation for a new instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons.”

“After the Prague speech, Obama lost a chance to lead the world towards nuclear disarmament. Despite this first visit to Hiroshima by a US president, leadership on this issue is instead emerging from the broad coalition of over 120 non-nuclear weapon states that have endorsed the Humanitarian Pledge,” concludes Beatrice Fihn.