UN Adopts Resolution for Nuclear Weapons Treaty Amidst Ongoing Threats

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in 2017 to initiate global negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. Despite this, countries like Russia and Iran have continued to amass nuclear weapons, posing a significant threat to global security.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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UN Adopts Resolution for Nuclear Weapons Treaty Amidst Ongoing Threats

UN Adopts Resolution for Nuclear Weapons Treaty Amidst Ongoing Threats

On December 23, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution to initiate global negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, with 113 countries in favor, 35 against, and 13 abstaining. The treaty aims to push for nuclear nonproliferation and ban biological and chemical weapons, landmines, and cluster munitions.

Why this matters: The adoption of this resolution has significant implications for global security, as it addresses the growing threat of nuclear weapons and promotes international cooperation to prevent their proliferation. The success of this treaty could have a profound impact on preventing devastating conflicts and promoting peace and stability worldwide.

Despite the resolution, countries continue to amass nuclear weapons, with Russia and Iran recently issuing nuclear threats to their rivals. Russia announced nuclear weapon drills on Ukraine borders in May 2023, with President Putin threatening fresh nuclear tests and acquiring more warheads. Iran has warned it could change its nuclear doctrine if its nuclear facilities are targeted by Israel.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is struggling to engage Iran constructively to shun weapons of mass destruction. "The situation has come to such a pass that a single nuclear detonation may set off unimaginable consequences in these precipitous times," the UN chief warned. A 2022 article in Nature cautioned, "Even a relatively small nuclear war can trigger a massive global food crisis."

The UN treaty was driven by the realization of the apocalyptic effects of nuclear weapons, as seen in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Efforts to push for a global treaty banning nuclear weapons date back to 1997, when the International Court of Justice expressed its opinion on the matter. Civil societies, nations like Costa Rica and Malaysia, and the Red Cross have been advocating for a global treaty.

The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022, poses a significant threat to the post-Cold War international order. The invasion violates the fundamental principle enshrined in the UN Charter that naked force cannot be used to alter territorial boundaries. The conflict has witnessed war crimes, including rape, torture of civilians, kidnapping of Ukrainian children, and targeting of civilian infrastructure, accompanied by subtle nuclear threats.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that Iran could have nuclear weapons in one to two years if Tehran continues to violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a landmark nuclear accord between Iran and world powers signed in October 2015. Iran has breached its main limitations under the JCPOA, exceeding stockpiles of heavy water and uranium, and enriching uranium to 4.5% purity.

As the Doomsday Clock ticks loudly, emphasizing the urgent need for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the international community must bear in mind that any single detonation anywhere can trigger a chain reaction of events that can destroy anything – and everything. The UN resolution for a global treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons serves as a critical step towards averting a catastrophic nuclear war in an increasingly volatile world.

Key Takeaways

  • UN adopts resolution to initiate global treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons (2017)
  • 113 countries in favor, 35 against, and 13 abstaining from the resolution
  • Russia and Iran issue nuclear threats, despite UN resolution
  • Single nuclear detonation can trigger global food crisis and devastating consequences
  • UN treaty aims to ban nuclear weapons, promoting international cooperation and peace