If the international community is ever going to get rid of nuclear weapons, it must start by clearly rejecting them.

On 27 October 2016, member states of the United Nations adopted a decision in the General Assembly to convene in 2017 negotiations for a new legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons – or, as it is widely known, a ban treaty. 

This is a genuine opportunity for the international community, at long last, to break the logjam in multilateral nuclear-disarmament efforts and to make real progress towards a world free of nuclear weapons. An understanding of the need for a ban has emerged through the so-called ‘humanitarian initiative’, a movement led by governments, international organisations and civil-society groups to make humanitarian consequences the focus of discussions about nuclear weapons.

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Beatrice Fihn is Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

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Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

February-March 2017

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