Pax Christi International holds side-event at UN discussing the latest draft of the nuclear weapons ban treaty


by Alice Kooij Martinez, Senior Advocacy Officer

In today’s UN panel discussion on the nuclear weapons ban treaty text, ‘Is the Draft up to the Task? Ethical, Humanitarian and Faith-based Assessments’, we discussed the human-centredness of the provisions of the draft text from 23 June. The panel discussion took place while states are in the final days of active negotiations on a few outstanding issues. The panelists included:

  • Marie Dennis, Co-President, Pax Christi International
  • Fernando Luque Márquez, Counselor of the UN Mission of Ecuador
  • Gerry Lee, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  • Susi Snyder, Nuclear Disarmament Programme Manager, PAX
  • Chair: Mr. Jonathan Frerichs, Disarmament Representative, Pax Christi International and World Council of Churches

It was emphasised by participants and speakers that the treaty process is a milestone and builds on decades of work. Snyder pointed out that it is incredibly important that the treaty will prohibit and stop states parties from making, having, getting and using nuclear weapons and preclude assisting other states in doing so.

Moreover, the obligation to assist victims is crucial as it is important that human rights obligations are upheld. In addition, certain aspects of the treaty reflect a concern for the protection of disenfranchised people and specifically indigenous people who are and have been more vulnerable to the impact of nuclear weapons.

Although the treaty is a very important step, there is still room to improve the text with respect to certain moral, ethical and humanitarian aspects. Among those identified by the audience and the panelists were the following:

  • The need to include a prohibition of military planning and preparations to use nuclear weapons.
  • The treaty should include language specifically addressing the horrific consequences of nuclear weapons on our climate.
  • The treaty should prohibit the threat of use of nuclear weapons.
  • The treaty should stipulate that it is of unlimited duration and state that there is no provision for withdrawal.
  • The paragraph discussing a so-called ‘inalienable right of states parties to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes’ should be deleted.
  • There should be a reference in the treaty to the fact that the capacity for an adequate humanitarian response to a nuclear attack does not exist. 

Dennis highlighted the absurd commitment by nuclear-armed states that building capacity for more violence, even ultimate violence, will somehow satisfy the craving for security. She also called for a redeployment of resources from the trillions of dollars wasted on weapons of mass destruction to nonviolent and life-enhancing policies for sustainable development and especially vulnerable communities.



These actions reflect our advocacy priority on the nuclear weapons ban treaty. Find out more.




nuclear weapons ban treaty, UN, Marie Dennis, Susi Snyder, Jonathan Frerichs, Fernando Luque Marquez, Gerry Lee