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

We are pleased to share the following two commentaries by Paul Meyer on how the "nuclear umbrella" allies are responding to the challenge to their policies represented by the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), including a possible route Canada might take to permit eventual accession to the ban treaty.
The Simons Foundation Canada is pleased to share the following invitation to join Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention (CNWC) for their "Nuclear Disarmament in a World Emergency: Canada’s Responsibilities" online seminar series.  See the following for more information and to register. 
Visit Inter Press Service News Agency at the link below for this commentary on the recent Entry into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) by The Simons Foundation's Fellow, Dr. John Burroughs.

Opinion by John Burroughs, J.D., Ph.D.
Senior Analyst, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy
and Fellow, The Simons Foundation Canada
Published by Inter Press Service News Agency
November 2, 2020

Please visit The Hill Times at the link below for this commentary by The Hon. Douglas Roche, a Peace Leader with The Simons Foundation Canada.

Commentary by The Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C.
Published by The Hill Times (subscription required)
October 30, 2020

The Simons Foundation Canada has supported the creation of The Bruce Blair Memorial Fund at Princeton University to support work at the Program on Science and Global Security (SGS) on nuclear arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament. The Fund will support SGS efforts that in particular advance the work of Bruce Blair, who joined SGS in 2013 as a research scholar and passed away in July 2020.
Visit UNFOLD ZERO for a transcript of Professor the Hon. Gareth Evans' presentation at the #wethepeoples2020 Program for a Nuclear Weapon-Free World event for the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. As a recipient of The Simons Foundation Award for Distinguished Global Leadership in the Service of Peace and Disarmament, Prof. Evans is one of The Simons Foundation Canada's Peace Shapers.

Presentation by The Hon. Gareth Evans, AC, QC. 
#wethepeoples2020 Program for a Nuclear Weapon-Free World
Published by UNFOLD ZERO.
September 26, 2020

Visit The Hill Times at the link below for this commentary by The Hon. Douglas Roche, a Peace Leader with The Simons Foundation Canada.