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.