Humanitarian Initiative

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: an unfulfilled legacy

Seventy years ago the Japanese city of Hiroshima was devastated by an atomic bomb causing huge loss of life and suffering that continues to this day. The same fate befell Nagasaki three days later.

By John Borrie, Tim Caughley and Magnus Løvold

Many cities were heavily bombed during the Second World War, not only in Japan, but Hiroshima and Nagasaki were alone in being the targets of single weapons of mass destruction—atomic, i.e., nuclear bombs.

Where are we on effective measures, and where are we going?

One positive outcome of the NPT Review Conference was the strengthened support for the humanitarian pledge. But what will this now lead to in terms of effective nuclear disarmament measures?

By John Borrie, Tim Caughley, Magnus Løvold and Torbjørn Graff Hugo

A month after the NPT Review Conference’s collapse, and on the cusp of the summer break in the Northern hemisphere, we consider the state of efforts on achieving further effective measures on nuclear disarmament.

Why pursue effective measures?

Emphasizing past nuclear disarmament accomplishments misses the point when the real issue is the persistent risk of nuclear weapon use, whether deliberately or inadvertently caused.

By John Borrie

Last month, the latest five-yearly Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) failed to achieve any result—except perhaps to exasperate multilateral diplomats, and further underline how serious the current lack of progress on achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world has become. Ostensibly, Middle East-related issues derailed consensus on the final outcome document, although widely perceived lack of nuclear disarmament progress was a major bone of contention. At the Review Conference, the New Agenda Coalition countries and other states as varied as Austria and Thailand tried to focus discussion on possible further ‘effective measures’ on nuclear disarmament. The line the five NPT nuclear-weapon states took is that they are doing enough on nuclear disarmament and that, despite their vaunted step-by-step approach being stalled, it remains the only viable option. In light of the unpropitious disarmament environment right now—as underlined by the Review Conference’s failure—it raises the question: why pursue effective measures at all?

Make Peace or Perish

A gender perspective on weapons, violence and security continues to be an essential component of efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

By Mia Gandenberger and Ray Acheson

This week in The Hague we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), which seeks an end to war and promoted nonviolent solutions to conflict. For 100 years, we have worked to prevent the development and deployment of violent technologies and called instead for the development of norms, principles, practices, and institutions of peace and justice. We have opposed militarism and the structures of power that sustain it, including patriarchy—a system and culture of gender inequality.

NPT paper 5: NPT success and the humanitarian initiative

A range of initiatives is required to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world

By John Borrie, Tim Caughley, and Nick Ritchie
  • Underlying the challenges for the next five-yearly review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in April and May 2015, which include lack of progress both on nuclear disarmament and the convening of a Middle East regional conference on a weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-free zone, NPT members have quite diverse priorities.

NPT paper 1: The humanitarian initiative in 2015

Expectations are building for the need for nuclear disarmament progress

By Nick Ritchie
  • Decisive multilateral progress toward a nuclear-weapon-free world led by the nuclear-armed states has not been forthcoming since the end of the Cold War, as many once expected.