Nuclear Disarmament

Nuclear weapon test Romeo on Bikini Atoll, 1954. Photo courtesy of the US Dept. of Energy

The existence of nuclear weapons poses the single greatest threat to humanity today. The stockpiles held by the United States, Russia, France, the U.K., China, India, Pakistan and Israel have the capacity to destroy the Earth hundreds of times over. As well, approximately 40 member-state parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have legally acquired nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and also therefore have the capability to develop nuclear weapons.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons and the threat of terrorists seeking to acquire them heightens the existing dangers.

The U.S., Russia, the U.K., France and China possessed nuclear weapons when the Treaty went into force, and committed to eliminate their arsenals.

Though the numbers have been reduced, much more must be done to achieve total prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. The pace is slow and some of these states are upgrading their stockpiles and asserting that nuclear weapons are essential to their security strategies.

There is no ban on nuclear weapons, though they are indiscriminate weapons and their use would constitute a violation of International Humanitarian Law. It is not currently illegal to manufacture them, stockpile them or target a city deemed of military interest. According to the Advisory Opinion on the Legality of Nuclear Weapons, if it is believed that the survival of the state is at risk, it is not illegal to threaten to use and to use nuclear weapons. However, any use would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences and would contravene International Humanitarian Law.

Despite the end of the Cold War and better relations between Russia and the United States, the two countries still have thousands of nuclear weapons, on continuous high-alert status, targeted on each other. Thus, the risk of accidents, accidental launch, terrorist acquisition and attacks remains.

Cities are at risk. The design and purpose for nuclear weapons is to target the most densely populated areas, to kill the maximum number of civilians and to destroy their habitats. Military installations do not require the massive destructive power of a nuclear weapon. 


Nuclear Disarmament Content

Please visit The Guardian at the link below for this article featuring Professor the Hon. Gareth Evans who is one of The Simons Foundation Canada's Peace Shapers.
Given the relevance of the motion picture "Oppenheimer", The Simons Foundation Canada wishes to share this important poem written in 1995 by our colleague David Krieger, Ph.D., Founder and President Emeritus of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
Visit DownToEarth for this article by M.V. Ramana, Ph.D., the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security and Professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, The University of British Columbia.

Article by M.V. Ramana
Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security, The University of British Columbia 
Published by DownToEarth
August 5, 2023

Common Security and Nuclear Deterrence: How to replace the current reliance 
on nuclear weapons with sustainable security for all Conference
Convened by Basel Peace Office, Global Security Institute, 
Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, 
UNFOLD ZERO, World Federalist Movement, and the World Future Council
United Nations
Vienna, Austria
August 4, 2024

Commentary by The Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C.
Published by The Hill Times (subscription required)
July 31, 2023

Please visit Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs for this tribute to Amb. (ret) Jayantha Dhanapala, a distinguished diplomat and advocate for nuclear disarmament who received The Simons Foundation Award for Distinguished Global Leadership in the Service of Peace and Disarmament for his contributions to nuclear disarmament, particularly as Chair of the 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Conference and also served as the 2008 Simons Visiting Chair in International Law and Human Security at the School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University.
Visit The Hill Times at the link below for this commentary by The Hon. Douglas Roche, a Peace Leader at The Simons Foundation Canada.

Commentary by The Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C.
Published by The Hill Times
May 25, 2023