Landmark UN resolution to ban nuclear weapons

Majority of nations and peoples want peace, not war

For the first time in its 71 year history, the United Nations General Assembly committee voted on October 28, to launch negotiations on a new treaty banning nuclear weapons. 

The resolution was presented by Austria, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and Brazil. The US and other major nuclear power lobbied for several weeks before this, to pressurize other countries to oppose the treaty banning nuclear weapons. Despite their efforts, the resolution was adopted by a vote of 123 to 38, with 16 abstentions.

Four out of the five UN Security Council nuclear powers — Britain, France, Russia, and the US — voted against the resolution. China abstained, as did India and Pakistan. Japan, the first victim of the atom bomb, whose people have persistently campaigned against the use of nuclear weapons, voted against resolution to ban nuclear weapons. Israel, which is itself a major nuclear power, also abstained as did South Korea, claiming nuclear threat from North Korea. However, it is noteworthy that North Korea, whose nuclear program the imperialist powers constantly denounce and portray as a “big threat to world peace”, voted in favour of the resolution to ban nuclear weapons.

Expressing deep concern over the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”, the resolution provides for negotiations to begin in March next year on the new treaty. The resolution is expected to go to the full General Assembly for a vote in late November or early December this year.

The Obama administration of the US vehemently opposed the UN resolution and put utmost pressure on other countries, particularly its allies, to vote ‘no’. Ambassador Robert Wood, the U.S. special representative to the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, openly questioned “How can a state that relies on nuclear weapons for its security possibly join a negotiation meant to stigmatize and eliminate them?”, and declared that “the ban treaty runs the risk of undermining regional security.”

The vote on this resolution clearly shows that several of the major imperialist powers – the UN Security Council members and others – are feverishly stocking up their nuclear as well as non-nuclear arsenal and preparing for war. That is why they are opposed to any ban on nuclear weapons. The Indian ruling class, as part of its drive to sit at the high table with the leading imperialist powers of the world, is also trying to build up its nuclear might and entering into negotiations with some of the world’s leading nuclear powers. The vote in favour of the resolution by the majority of nations shows that people all over the world are overwhelmingly opposed to the war preparations and war mongering of the imperialist powers, to the threat of nuclear war and devastation of the present and future generations. 

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