Support builds for UN resolution calling for a Nuclear Weapons Convention

On December 2, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 66/46 (submitted as UN First Committee Res A/C.1/66/L.42) calling on all States to fulfill their nuclear disarmament obligations by commencing negotiations leading to the conclusion of a Nuclear Weapons Convention which would prohibit nuclear weapons and provide for their complete elimination in a phased program. The resolution was first introduced in 1996 following the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith, and bring to a conclusion, negotiations on nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.

Prior to 2010 the UN resolution annually secured about 120-125 countries voting in favour. Those voting in favour included some of the nuclear weapons possessor States (China, India, North Korea and Pakistan) and some European countries (Austria, Ireland, Malta, San Marion, Sweden). However, the other nuclear weapon States and most NATO countries have generally opposed.

Last year, the resolution was updated to reflect the agreements at the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference, including support for the UN Secretary-General’s Five-Point Plan which includes the proposal for a nuclear weapons convention or package of agreements. A number of countries thus shifted their vote from opposition to abstention (Iceland, Norway and Macedonia) or from abstention to support (Kazakhstan and Tajikistan). This year saw a similar increase in support with Azerbaijan, Benin and Ukraine joining those voting in favour, and Georgia and Montenegro moving from opposition to abstention.

Action: Check how your country votes on the resolution – and call for it to vote in favour at the 2012 UN General Assembly if it does not already do so.

For more information see here.