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Parliaments Step up Action for a new approach to achieve
a Nuclear Weapons-Free World:

Initiatives in parliaments of Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Kazakhstan

Friends Don't Let Friends Have Nuclear Weapons  

National campaigns against smoking in many Western countries began to make headway when they stopped focusing primarily on trying to convince smokers to give up their addiction, and instead focused more on efforts with non-smokers to develop a normative right to smoke-free environments. This included the establishment of smoke-free work places, restaurants and other public places.

Similarly, the global campaign against nuclear weapons has picked up steam recently through a shift in approach from its previous emphasis on challenging the nuclear weapon states (NWS) towards a greater focus on empowering the non-NWS to implement their right to a nuclear weapons-free world.

This was advanced in the 2010 NPT Review Conference agreement that ‘All States should make special efforts to build the framework for a nuclear weapons-free world’. (See NPT supports framework for nuclear disarmament).  It has also been advanced by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements which adopted a resolution on the irreconcilability of nuclear weapons with international humanitarian law and called for States to negotiate a global ban on nuclear weapons.

In addition, in December 2011, a Summit of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) issued a Communiqué calling for the convening of a high–level conference to identify ways to prohibit the development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use, and to stipulate their destruction (See Latin American Leaders say Convene A Summit!)

In April 2012, the Norwegian Foreign Minister announced to Parliament that Norway would host an inter-governmental conference in spring 2013 on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. And on 1 May 2012, the Middle Powers Initiative launched the Framework Forum, a series of meetings of governments to explore and develop the framework for a nuclear weapons-free world.

Parliaments are stepping up their actions to support these initiatives of middle power countries to promote and develop a global ban on nuclear weapons.

Canadian parliament calls for diplomatic action for a nuclear weapons convention

In 2010, following up on the NPT Review Conference decision, the Canadian parliament adopted resolutions in the Senate (submitted by Senator Hugh Segal and adopted on June 2) and in the House of Commons (submitted by Bill Siksay and adopted on December 7) endorsing the UN Secretary-General’s Five-Point Plan for nuclear disarmament and encouraging the government of Canada to engage in a global diplomatic initiative for nuclear disarmament including negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention. The resolutions were promoted by Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention – a group of over 500 recipients of the Order of Canada – the country’s highest civil award.

Romeo Dallaire  

On 17 May 2012, PNND Special Representative Senator Romeo Dallaire, delivered a ground-breaking speech in the Senate on Bill S-9 to amend the Criminal Code to combat nuclear terrorism, noting that the only security against nuclear terrorism is to move towards a global ban on nuclear weapons and their verified elimination as called for in the 2010 Senate and House resolutions on a nuclear weapons convention. 

On May 30, 2012, a rejuvenated PNND Canada, co-chaired by Scott Armstrong (Conservative, Nova Scotia) and Hélène Laverdière (Liberal Democratic Party, Quebec) held a cross-party meeting of parliamentarians to discuss follow-up to the resolutions, including possibilities for Canada to participate in initiatives by like-minded countries to commence preparatory work on a nuclear weapons convention leading to negotiations.

Mexican Senate takes a lead!

In Mexico, a resolution submitted by PNND Co-President Rosario Green to the Senate, and adopted by consensus on 8 March 2012, supported the CELAC initiative for a global inter-governmental conference to negotiate a nuclear weapons convention (or framework of agreements), supported measures to achieve security without nuclear weapons (including regional nuclear weapon-free zones) and called on all parliaments to support such initiatives. (Also available in English.)

New Zealand parliament highlights humanitarian consequences

  Maryan Street on the Anniversary of NZ's anti-nuclear legislation
PNND NZ Chair Maryan Street speaking at the 25th anniversary of NZ's nuclear-free legislation

On 31 May 2012, the New Zealand parliament unanimously adopted a motion submitted by PNND New Zealand Chair Maryan Street commemorating the 25th anniversary of legislation prohibiting nuclear weapons, highlighting the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, affirming that all States have a role to play in creating the framework for a nuclear weapons-free world, commending Norway for its announcement to hold a high-level conference on humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, and calling on New Zealand government to give its full support for the conference (See Hansard: Motions — Nuclear Disarmament—Global Support and Anniversary of New Zealand Nuclear-free Zone). The adoption of the motion followed a very successful PNND event in the Parliament Banquet hall commemorating the 25th anniversary of New Zealand’s anti-nuclear legislation (See Nuclear-free NZ anniversary celebrated, New Zealand Herald, June 1, 2012).

Kazakhstan parliament to host conference for a nuclear weapons-free world

On 27-30 August 2012, the Kazakhstan Parliament will host an international conference of parliamentarians to discuss parliamentary actions to establish a nuclear weapons-free world. Timed to coincide with the International Day Against Nuclear Tests (the anniversary of the closing of the Soviet nuclear test site in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan), the conference will highlight the humanitarian consequences of nuclear tests, the development of regional security without nuclear weapons, and the phase-out of nuclear deterrence. It will include a field trip to the former Soviet nuclear test site and the Kazakhstan Radiation Research Centre. For more information about the conference, contact alyn@pnnd.org.

Other parliamentary actions

PNND will continue to report on parliamentary actions for the global abolition of nuclear weapons. Please inform us of motions and debates in your parliament.