Parliamentary actions and the Non-Proliferation Treaty

PNND reports to the NPT Prep Com in Vienna.

Side-event includes actions for nuclear-risk reduction and disarmament, and to establish nuclear-weapon free zones in Europe, NE Asia and the Middle East.

On May 5, PNND held a side-event at the 2017 Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, held in Vienna from May 2-12.

The event was opened with a video message from Fabian Hamilton MP (UK), Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament, who spoke on the vital need of parliamentarians working in close cooperation to guarantee that progress is achieved on the topic of nuclear disarmament and how PNND provides such platform.

Rob van Riet, PNND UK Coordinator, highlighted the crucial role that parliamentarians can play to further such developments. For instance, he commended the joint initiative of PNND Co-President Senator Ed Markey and Rep. Ted Lieu who introduced a bill in the Senate entitled ‘Restricting the first use of nuclear weapons Act’. This bill would require a Congress vote before any first-strike capability would take place.

Parliamentary actions in the Netherlands were also disclosed, where the parliament is fiercely trying to remove NATO-stationed nuclear weapons in their territory by staging a congressional vote on this matter, and also a motion to oppose the replacement of their fighter jets so that they could have a nuclear task.

PNND panel on May 5. From l to r: Daisuke Yamaguchi, Salwa Damen-Masri, Belal Qasem, Julia Berghofer, Bill Kidd, Harald Muller and Rob van Riet.

UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament

“Parliamentarians have the legal and moral duty to represent the best interest of their parliamentarians, and this includes working towards a world free of nuclear weapons”, said PNND Co-President Bill Kidd who also pointed out activities in different forums such as the OEWG in 2016, the ongoing Ban Treaty Negotiations, as well as in the upcoming 2020 NPT Review Conference and the UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament in 2018.

In this context, it would be advantageous to use the 2017 NPT Prep Com to consider what could be agreed upon at the 2020 NPT Review Conference, as well as what could be the scenario for the 2018 UNHLCND, which unlike the NPT does not work under a consensus rule.

Such connection between the 2017 NPT Prep Com and the 2018 UNHLCND is disclosed in more details in The Non-Proliferation Treaty and the 2018 UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, a working paper from PNND and UNFOLD ZERO to the 2017 NPT Prep Com. (Click here for Bill Kidd's presentation).

Inter Parliamentary Union and a Middle East NWFZ

Salwa Damen-Masri speaking. Belal Qasem MP on her left.

Salwa Damen-Masri, PNND Council Member, drew special attention to the fruitful cooperation between PNND and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). This includes the implementation of the resolution adopted at the 130th IPU Assembly Toward a Nuclear Weapon Free World: The Contribution of Parliaments and more recently the Parliamentary Action Plan for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World which was introduced at the 136th Assembly.

Belal Qasem MP, Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), encouraged parliamentarians, governments and civil society to promote a Middle East NWFZ, and invited PNND to cooperate with PAM to advance the proposal amongst Mediterranean parliaments.

European NWFZ

This PNND session also included a comprehensive presentation from Professor Harald Müller, Head of Research Group "Nuclear Arms Control" at the Peace Research Institute in Frankfurt (PRIF). Prof Müller is one of the principle authors of the research entitle “A Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Europe”. He noted that on first glance, the prospect for such a zone appears all but impossible. The region includes two nuclear-armed States and more than 20 allied states that rely on nuclear deterrence. As such, he was personally very sceptical at the beginning of the study.

However, on examining a range of options, including a phased process starting with non-nuclear countries in the region, the conclusions of the study were more favourable to the feasibility of such a zone. Indeed, the NWFZ framework, which includes security guarantees from the nuclear-armed States not to attack States parties in the zone, provides an alternative to the reliance on nuclear deterrence which is probably more realistic than expecting nuclear reliant States to unilaterally relinquish nuclear deterrence. 

Marzhan Nurzhan speaking. Jean-Marie Collin and Harald Muller are on her right.

Other speakers

Jean-Marie Collin, PNND Coordinator for France, spoke on the upcoming legislative elections in the country and the importance of reaching out to the new generation of MPs entering government on the importance of their active participation to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Marzhan Nurzhan (PNND Coordinator for the CIS Countries) spoke about the importance of promoting cooperative security to resolve regional and international conflicts, and to replace nuclear deterrence. She highlighted the examples of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly which has supported nuclear risk-reduction and disarmament proposals submitted by PNND members. Marzhan also highlighted the humanitarian impact of nuclear testing, which has been a catalyst for Kazakhstan, her country, to eliminate the nuclear weapons on their territory and promote a nuclear-weapon-free world. (Click here for Marzhan's presentation).

Daisuke Yamagushi speaking. Salwa Damen el Masri on his left.

Daisuke Yamagushi (PNND Coordinator for Japan) announced the support of over 130 Japanese parliamentarians, from across the political spectrum, for 'A Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: Our Common Good', the joint global statement of parliamentarians, mayors and religious leaders. The statement calls on governments that rely on nuclear deterrence to replace this with cooperative security policies and practices. The statement also calls for negotiations on a global treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons (a nuclear weapons convention). Daisuke also reported on cooperation between Japanese and South Korean parliamentarians on a proposal for a North East Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. (Click here for the presentation of Daisuke).