Op-ed from Pax Christi Flanders staff member on the movement to ban nuclear weapons


by William Staes, Policy Security & Disarmament 
Pax Christi Vlaanderen
The UN Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on nuclear disarmament met last week in Geneva. An overwhelming majority of the 107 countries present supported a proposal to start negotiations in 2017 on a new international treaty banning nuclear weapons.
Belgium refused to support this argument, placing itself clearly with the minority.
Historic breakthrough
The outcome of the OEWG is a historic breakthrough in international nuclear disarmament talks. Nine nuclear weapon states for two decades have been blocking any meaningful progress in nuclear disarmament, supported by countries such as Belgium, which possesses ten to twenty U.S. nuclear weapons on its territory.
After more than twenty years of the nuclear status quo, negotiations will be launched in 2017 toward an international ban on nuclear weapons. This is nothing less han historic.
A new ban treaty will further stigmatize nuclear weapons and apply pressure on the nuclear weapon states to undertake effective and comprehensive nuclear disarmament...
William Staes, OEWG, nuclear ban treaty, Pax Christi Vlaanderen