The UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes key disarmament initiatives to support the International Day of Peace today and the International Day to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, which takes place later this week.
International Peace Day was instituted by the United Nations in 1981 and is dedicated to support the cause of world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence. Since 2013 the day was also dedicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to peace education, the key preventive means to reduce war sustainably. (1)
Later in the week on September 26th is the parallel International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. This was instituted by the United Nations in 2013. The aims of the day are to enhance public awareness about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination.
The UNGA resolution establishing the day (UNGA Res 68 32) also calls for progress on a nuclear weapons convention – a global treaty involving the nuclear armed states in the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons under strict and effective international control. NFLA welcome that the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which seeks a process bringing about a similar outcome, has now 44 ratifications, and shortly will come into force once 6 more states ratify it.
September 26 is also the anniversary of the incident in 1983 when a nuclear war was almost launched due to malfunctions in the Soviet nuclear weapons early warning system, which erroneously detected a US ballistic missile attack against Moscow. (2)
The NFLA is a full supporter of the initiative ‘#We The Peoples 2020’, which is organising a number of events between September 21st and October 2nd. This initiative is supported by over 80 groups worldwide. (3) NFLA members are encouraged to support some of these events and a link to each of them can be found at the website: https://www.unfoldzero.org/wethepeoples2020/
As an organisation that was established calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, NFLA particularly welcomes plans for a series of global presentations, workshops and a panel discussion on September 26th. Amongst the speakers to this event are the Mayors for Peace Executive Advisor Jackie Cabasso, the Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament Fabian Hamilton, the Secretary-General of Religions for Peace Professor Azza Karam; CND Vice President Jeremy Corbyn MP, and winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize, Kehkashan Basu. (4)
NFLA are also a strong supporter of the ICAN Cities Appeal, which encourages Councils to pass resolutions to support the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and call for the abolition of such weapons. The latest supporters of the Cities Appeal are the Mayors for Peace members of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and the London Borough of Newham. Others are expected shortly. (5)
NFLA Steering Committee Chair, Councillor David Blackburn said:
“I welcome events taking place which celebrates and commemorates International Peace Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. They are salutary reminders of the need for peace, toleration and a world free of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons. I urge people to take part in the ‘#We The Peoples 2020’ events over the coming week and find out much more about these issues. I welcome Tower Hamlets and Newham’s resolution backing the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty as a reminder of the positive role Councils can show in giving their solidarity for the cause of a nuclear weapons free world. With Ireland’s ratification of this Treaty, NFLA now call on opponents of the Treaty, including the UK Government, to engage rather than criticise such initiatives. We must all work for a more peaceful and nuclear free world and we welcome all those involved in this laudable aim.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for Editors:
(1) United Nations –
(3) #We The Peoples 2020 –
(4) Events for the International Day for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons –
(5) ICAN Cities Appeal –