about icanThe International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)is a global coalition of non-government organizations working fora nuclear-weapon-free world. We are urging all nations to startnegotiations now on a treaty banning nuclear weapons completely.“If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr werealive today, they would be part of ICAN.”MARTIN SHEEN, actor and activistPublished July 2013Text and design: Tim WrightContact: firstname.lastname@example.org
1Why a nuclear weapons banA treaty banning nuclear weapons is a global humanitarian imperativeof the highest order. It is achievable and increasingly urgent.Nuclear weapons are theonly weapons of massdestruction not yet prohibitedby an international convention,even though they have thegreatest destructive capacityof all weapons. A global banon nuclear weapons is longoverdue and can be achievedin the near future with enoughpublic pressure and politicalleadership. A ban would not onlymake it illegal for nations to useor possess nuclear weapons; itwould also help pave the wayto their complete elimination.Nations committed to reachingthe goal of abolition shouldbegin negotiating a ban now.CATASTROPHIC HARMMany thousands of nuclearweapons remain in the world,despite the end of the coldwar. The detonation of justone nuclear bomb over alarge city could kill more thana million people. The useof tens or hundreds coulddisrupt the global climate,causing widespread agriculturalcollapse and famine. No matterthe scale of the attack, anadequate humanitarian responsewould not be possible. Giventhe catastrophic effects ofnuclear weapons, banning anderadicating them is the onlyresponsible course of action.FULFILLING OBLIGATIONSInternational law obliges allnations to pursue in good faithand conclude negotiations fornuclear disarmament. However,the nuclear-armed nations haveso far failed to present a clearroad map to a nuclear-weaponfreeworld. All are investingheavily in the modernization oftheir nuclear forces, with theapparent intention of retainingthem for many decades tocome. Continued failure ondisarmament is not an option.So long as nuclear weapons exist,there is a real danger they willbe used again – by accident orintent. A ban is urgently needed.NUCLEAR NATIONSNations with nuclearweapons of their ownBritain, China, France, India,Israel, North Korea, Pakistan,Russia, United StatesNations that host USnuclear weaponsBelgium, Germany, Italy,Netherlands, TurkeyOther nations innuclear alliancesAlbania, Australia, Bulgaria,Canada, Croatia, CzechRepublic, Denmark, Estonia,Greece, Hungary, Iceland,Japan, Latvia, Lithuania,Luxembourg, Norway, Poland,Portugal, Romania, Slovakia,Slovenia, South Korea, Spain
3weapons already bannedThere are already international conventions prohibitingbiological weapons, chemical weapons, land minesand cluster munitions, but no comparable treaty – asyet – for nuclear weapons. The international communitymust address this legal anomaly. As with the negotiatingprocesses that resulted in treaties banning land minesand cluster munitions, likeminded governments shouldwork in close partnership with civil society to bring abouta nuclear weapons ban regardless of resistance fromstates possessing the weapons.BIOLOGICAL CHEMICALLANDCLUSTER7 WEAPONS 7 WEAPONS 7 MINES 7 MUNITIONSBanned under the BiologicalWeapons Convention1972Banned under the ChemicalWeapons Convention1993Banned under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty1997Banned under the Conventionon Cluster Munitions2008NUCLEARWEAPONSNOT YET BANNEDBY TREATY
4global support for a banMORE THAN 150GOVERNMENTSRED CROSS AND REDCRESCENT MOVEMENTUNITED NATIONSSECRETARY-GENERALFOUR IN FIVEPEOPLE WORLDWIDEAt the UN, three in four nations– including all of Latin America,the Caribbean and Africa – havesupported the goal of prohibitingnuclear weapons. They mustnow translate this support for thegoal of a ban into action to startnegotiations on a treaty.The International Red Cross andRed Crescent Movement – thelargest humanitarian organizationin the world, with close to 100million volunteers and staff – hascalled for a binding agreement toprohibit the use of and completelyeliminate nuclear weapons.UN Secretary-General BanKi‐moon has highlighted thelack of an international treatyoutlawing nuclear weapons, andhas consistently spoken in favourof prohibiting and eliminatingnuclear weapons. He has alsolent his support to ICAN.On average, four in five peoplepolled since 2008 in 26 nationshave said “yes” to a nuclearweapons ban, including mostpeople in each nuclear-armedstate. Since 2010, 20 millionpetition signatures have beensent to the UN calling for a ban.
5“My advice, my appeal to all, is this: Be a first mover. Don’t look to others or to your neighboursto start disarmament and arms control measures. If you take the lead, others will follow.”BAN KI-MOON, UN Secretary-General, 2013
6ICAN forum: Actor Martin Sheenon stage with activist John Dearin Oslo. Credit: Alexander HarangDEVASTATING EFFECTSIn recent years, governments,civil society and internationalorganizations have refocusedtheir attention on the originalcause of public opposition tonuclear weapons – namely,their devastating effects onpeople and the environment.In March 2013 the Norwegiangovernment hosted thefirst ever intergovernmentalconference to address thethreat of nuclear weaponsfrom a purely humanitarianperspective. Participantsincluded 128 governments, theRed Cross movement, severalUN agencies and civil societyunder the banner of ICAN. Mostnations argued that the only wayto prevent the use of nuclearweapons is to ban and eliminatethem. At the conclusion of theconference, Mexico announcedthat it would host a follow-upconference in 2014.
7Achieving a nuclear weapons banThere is a clear and compelling humanitarian case for prohibiting nuclear weapons.Achieving that goal requires public mobilization and political leadership.Since 2010 the catastrophichumanitarian impact ofnuclear weapons has featuredprominently in discussionsamong governments and civilsociety organizations on ways toadvance nuclear disarmament.This emerging discourse onthe harm that nuclear weaponscause to people, societies andthe environment underscoresthe urgency of concerted actionfor the complete prohibition andelimination of such weapons.Their devastating effects onHiroshima and Nagasaki, andthrough testing, have been welldocumented, and provide a clearrationale for negotiating a ban.PUBLIC MOBILIZATIONThe success of a ban dependson the active engagement ofcivil society. Since 2007 theInternational Campaign toAbolish Nuclear Weapons, adiverse coalition of groups in70 nations, has sought to raisepublic awareness about nucleardangers and empower peopleto work for a ban. We haveheld conferences, workshops,exhibitions, film screeningsand protests around the world,and have raised our call for aban at the UN, in parliaments,in schools and online. Oursimple demand has been widelyand enthusiastically embraced.POLITICAL LEADERSHIPNuclear-free nations have longcomplained of the lack ofprogress being made towardsnuclear disarmament. Manyhave expressed grave concernat the continuing build-up andmodernization of nuclear forces.Though frustrated, they arenot without influence. After all,they make up the overwhelmingmajority of states. Workingeffectively together, they couldput in place a powerful legalban on nuclear weapons, whichwould not only stigmatize theweapons, but also build thepressure for disarmament. It istime to change the game.ACTION FOR A BANGovernments should:• Highlight the catastrophichumanitarian impact ofnuclear weapons• Call for negotiationswithout delay on a treatybanning nuclear weapons• Join forces with likemindedgovernments tomake a ban treaty a realityCivil society should:• Raise public awarenessabout the harm caused bynuclear weapons• Form strong coalitionsof organizations with thespecific demand of a banon nuclear weapons
8Frequently asked questions1. Could a ban be negotiatedwithout nuclear-armed nations?Yes. Although the nine nucleararmednations should be stronglyencouraged to join negotiationsfor a ban, their participation wouldnot be essential. They should notbe allowed to prevent or hold upnegotiations. Nuclear-free nationscould initiate a negotiating processand even adopt the final treaty textwithout having all or indeed any ofthe nuclear-armed nations on board.Agreements relating to the verifieddismantlement of nuclear warheadscould be developed with the nucleararmednations at a later stage oncethey are ready to engage. But it isimportant to get the ball rolling nowand put in place a clear legal ban.Once negotiations are under way,any nation – whether nuclear-freeor not – would be welcome to jointhe negotiating process so long asit accepted the goal of concluding aban treaty by an agreed date.2. Could nations in nuclearalliances help negotiate a ban?Yes. Several NATO members havealready called for intensified effortsto outlaw nuclear weapons, and allhave agreed to the ultimate goal ofelimination. Abandoning NATO or abilateral nuclear defence pact wouldnot be a precondition for joininga ban treaty. However, nucleardependentnations would need towork towards achieving a nuclearfreedefence posture after joining.3. Would a ban treaty help curb thespread of nuclear weapons?Yes. Nuclear non-proliferation anddisarmament are two sides of thesame coin. Efforts to prevent thespread of nuclear weapons willbe successful only once potentialproliferators can see that realprogress is being made towardselimination. Existing legal doublestandards fuel proliferation. A banwould set the same rules for all.4. How would a ban relate to theNon-Proliferation Treaty?A ban treaty would complementand reinforce, rather than replace,the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT), which would remain in forcefor as long as its parties determine.Article VI of the NPT obliges nationsto pursue negotiations in good faithfor nuclear disarmament. Adoptinga nuclear weapons ban would bea step towards implementing thisfundamental provision of the treaty.A ban would also build on theComprehensive Test Ban Treaty andnuclear-weapon-free zone treaties.5. What are the practical benefitsof stigmatizing nuclear weapons?A ban on nuclear weapons wouldstrengthen the global taboo againstthe use and possession of weaponsof mass destruction. It would putpressure on nuclear-armed nationsto suspend their nuclear weaponsmodernization programmes and towork towards complete abolition. Itwould challenge allies of nucleararmednations to end their supportfor the indefinite retention of nuclearforces. And it would provide a strongbasis for arguing that financialinstitutions everywhere should divestfrom companies involved in nuclearweapons production. In short, itwould challenge all those who helpsustain our nuclear-armed world.6. What are the security benefitsof negotiating a ban?A ban on nuclear weapons wouldenhance everyone’s security – notleast of all the security of people innations currently armed with nuclearweapons, who are more likely tobe the targets of a nuclear attack.People in nuclear-free nationsare also at risk, as the effects ofnuclear weapons transcend nationalboundaries. Even a “limited” regionalnuclear war would have implicationsfor the entire globe.
Street action: Campaigners thank nations forattending the Oslo conference on the humanitarianimpact of nuclear weapons in March 2013.What does your government say about a ban on nuclear weapons?See our comprehensive online guide to national positions at www.icanw.org
BAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS NOW“With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”DESMOND TUTU, social rights activist“I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”THE DALAI LAMA, Tibetan spiritual leader“We can do it together! With your help, our voice will be made still stronger.”YOKO ONO, peace activist and artist“I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”BAN KI-MOON, UN Secretary-Generalwww.icanw.org