By Etuka Sunday
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), United States of America (USA) and over 600 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have gathered in Vienna, Austria, to further negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
The ICAN international is holding an ICAN Civil Society Forum just before the commencement of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna, Austria.
The government conference which started Monday, Dec 8 and Tuesday, 9 Dec. have over 150 states attending. More interestingly and most usual, this conference which is the third in the series have for the first time the nuclear states attending – United States of America (USA), The United Kingdom and China.
“ICAN is excited to be gathering in such numbers and welcome all campaigners who are coming together from all over the world with a clear demand: a ban on nuclear weapons.
Since the Civil Society Forum in Oslo, we have seen a dramatic change in the way we now discuss nuclear weapons. The humanitarian initiatives have changed the terms of the debate.
“While many forums discussing nuclear weapons have been deadlocked, we have taken major step in having nuclear weapons recognized for what they really are: dangerous, indiscriminate and unacceptable.
“More and more countries are coming on board with the idea that a new legal instrument is needed to put the era of nuclear weapons to an end. The role of civil society is essential now more than ever. We need to make sure that the awareness the humanitarian initiative has generated turns into clear political results.
Vienna is the chance of civil society to demand courage to stand up and take decisive action. This window of opportunity cannot be missed. A process to ban nuclear weapons needs to be initiated as soon as possibl.