The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons is a global observance that aims to raise awareness and mobilize action towards achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. It was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013, through its resolution 68/321, as a follow-up to the high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament held on 26 September of that year. The significance of this day can be evaluated from different perspectives, such as humanitarian, legal, moral, political and security.
The day is a reminder of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of using nuclear weapons, which would cause immense suffering and devastation to people and the environment and overwhelm any capacity for humanitarian response. The day also highlights the need to address the harm caused by past nuclear weapons use and testing, especially on the health and well-being of affected communities.
The day reaffirms the commitment of States to the goal of nuclear disarmament, as enshrined in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and other relevant international instruments. The day also celebrates the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in 2021, the first universal legally binding instrument to ban nuclear weapons and set out a pathway for their verified elimination. The day challenges the claim that nuclear weapons are essential for national security and deterrence and exposes the ethical and moral dilemmas posed by these weapons of mass destruction. The day also promotes a vision of collective security based on human dignity, human rights and human needs.
The day allows States to engage in dialogue and cooperation on nuclear disarmament issues and demonstrate their political will and leadership to advance this agenda. The day also encourages civil society participation and public education on the importance of nuclear disarmament for peace and development. The day addresses the growing risks of a nuclear detonation, whether by accident, miscalculation or design, in the context of increasing geopolitical tensions, technological developments and proliferation challenges. The day also advocates for a comprehensive approach to nuclear disarmament that considers the interrelated aspects of disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons is a significant occasion to raise awareness and mobilize action towards achieving a world free of nuclear weapons, which is a shared responsibility and a common good for humanity.
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