New Parliamentary Appeal on Nuclear Abolition

PNND Co-President Uta Zapf speaking at the IPU Assembly panel on the role of parliaments in implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1540: preventing proliferation of WMD

Three of the PNND Co-Presidents - Saber Chowdhury, Sue Miller and Uta Zapf - this month circulated a new parliamentary appeal on nuclear aboliton to members of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND) encouraging them to endorse, and to use the appeal to build political will from governments to negotiate for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. 

The Global Parliamentary Appeal for a Nuclear Weapons Ban, launched by ICAN (an international civil society campaign to abolish nuclear weapons), calls on ‘all national governments to negotiate a treaty banning nuclear weapons and leading to their complete eradication’ noting that ‘The only way to guarantee that they [nuclear weapons] will never be used again is to outlaw and eliminate them without further delay.’ The appeal will be presented to a range of intergovernmental and inter-parliamentary forums over the next two years to advance nuclear abolition.

The three Co-Presidents, who signed a support letter for the Appeal during a nuclear disarmament meeting of the Inter Parliamentary Union, note that PNND has been active in highlighting the humanitarian and environmental consequences of any use of nuclear weapons as one of the reasons making nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament a vital issue for the 21st Century.

The International Court of Justice in 1996 concluded that “The destructive power of nuclear weapons cannot be contained in either time or space”, that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would thus be generally illegal, and that there is an unconditional and universal legal obligation to achieve the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Governments have accepted this obligation – but have not dedicated sufficient political will to its achievement. Parliamentarians globally are instrumental in building this political will.

The appeal complements the parliamentary resolutions supporting a nuclear weapons convention and the Parliamentary Declaration for a Nuclear Weapons Convention which PNND presented to the United Nations Secretary General and the States Parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2010, and which helped move States Parties to the NPT to agree that “all States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons,” noting “the Five-Point Proposal for Nuclear Disarmament of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, which proposes inter alia the consideration of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention or a framework of separate mutually reinforcing instruments backed by a strong system of verification."

The three PNND Co-Presidents note that the Appeal is also complementary to a range of other parliamentary initiatives, some of which focus on initial steps or regional measures, and others which take a more comprehensive approach to achieving global abolition.

The three PNND Co-Presidents circulating the appeal are global leaders in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Saber Chowdhury MP (Bangladesh) is the President of the Inter Parliamentary Union Standing Committee on International Peace and Security. Baroness Sue Miller (UK) is a Member of the UK delegation to the Inter Parliamentary Union and was instrumental in the 2009 IPU resolution on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament which achieved support from all IPU member parliaments (over 160 parliaments) and included promotion of the UN Secretary-General's Five-Point Proposal for Nuclear Disarmament. Uta Zapf has served as Chair of the Bundestag Subcommittee on Disarmament and Arms Control and was responsible, among other things, for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperaton in Europe endorsing new nuclear abolition efforts in July 2013.


Originally published by the Basel Peace Office.

Photo by Basel Peace Office.


PN member Uta Zapf has been member of the German Bundestag from 1990 to 2013, where she has been serving as the chairperson of the subcommittee for "Disarmament, Arms Control, and Nonproliferation" since 1998.

PN Member Saber Hossain Chowdhury was first elected as Member of Bangladesh Parliament in 1996 and was elected for a second five year term in December 2008. He is the first MP in Bangladesh to have initiated legislation on prohibition of custodial torture and deaths, code of conduct for MPs, domestic violence, rights of slum dwellers and repeal of the Leper’s Act which promotes segregation.

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