UNIC Canberra partnered with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) to mark the first observance of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on the 26 September 2014. As master of ceremonies, UNIC Canberra Director, Mr Christopher Woodthorpe introduced the event and read the Secretary-General’s message which identified achieving global disarmament as one of the oldest goals of the United Nations.
“It has been 68 years since the General Assembly first identified the goal of achieving the elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction… Let us revive nuclear disarmament as a top international priority, in the interest of the peace and security of all and of future generations,” he read.
Australian ICAN Board Member, Dr Sue Wareham OAM outlined recent international negotiations on nuclear disarmament, highlighting the upcoming Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons and the need for the destigmatisation of the nuclear bomb in society.
Austrian Ambassador, HE Dr Helmut Böck discussed the progress of recent negotiations, describing disarmament as a collective responsibility to ensure a sustainable world for ourselves and future generations.
Director of International Humanitarian Law and Movement Relations at the Australian Red Cross, Dr Phoebe Wynn-Pope spoke about the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement’s work calling for a treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons.
“The time has truly come, momentum is building and I can see a place for Australia in the campaign,” she said.
In a Q&A session following the speeches, diplomats, civil society, academics and the general public asked about the international negotiation process, the use of nuclear weapons as a deterrent and the focus on humanitarian consequences.