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Release (6/17/2022): U.S. Will Boycott Historic Meeting to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, June 21-23

Meeting in Vienna will address victims of nuclear testing and bomb use

For Immediate Release: June 17, 2022

The human cost of nuclear weapons testing and bombs will be the focus of the first Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons when it convenes in Vienna, Austria, June 21-23, 2022.

Meanwhile, thousands of people exposed to the first ever use of nuclear weapons – the Trinity Test conducted in New Mexico on July 16, 1945 – are waiting for their claims of damage to be heard by the US government.

“The explosion produced more heat than the sun, and caused radioactive ash to fall for days – covering and contaminating crops, homes, bodies, and water supplies,” describes Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium. “We were innocent children, women, and men who were left to deal with the horrid consequences of being overexposed to radioactive fallout. Our families suffer from cancer, radiation-related illnesses, and early death.”

Cordova explains, “The people of New Mexico have been waiting over 77 years. We have never been acknowledged although we were the original Downwinders, the first people to be exposed to a nuclear bomb and nuclear fallout anyplace in the world. We have been casualties of the U.S. government’s quest for nuclear superiority. There is so much more to the history than what the U.S. government has been willing to share, and we were the human sacrifice.”

Legislation addressing the claims of people affected by US use of nuclear weapons — The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act — has never included the very first communities impacted by a nuclear bomb, the New Mexico Downwinders.

“Countries that join the TPNW are legally obligated to provide victim assistance to affected communities. For the U.S., ratification would mean finally acknowledging the people exposed to the first nuclear weapon ever used, and their descendents,” says Sofia Wolman.

Detailed information about the first Meeting of States Parties is available here: An overview of the week’s programs is included below.

Contact: Sofia Rose Wolman (campaign manager, Nuclear Ban Treaty Collaborative), Experts are available for interview upon request.

Overview of the TPNW 

The TPNW, which calls for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, was adopted at the United Nations in July 2017, following three Conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. The Treaty entered into force on January 21, 2021. Currently 62 UN member states have ratified, and a total of 86 have signed the TPNW. Guatemala is the most recent state party (ratifier), making Central America the first entire region to join the TPNW. None of the nine nuclear-armed states have signed or ratified the TPNW, even as the five nuclear-armed states that are parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty undermine their commitments to disarmament enshrined in that 1970 treaty.

The first Meeting of States Parties will forward the TPNW’s mission to eliminate nuclear weapons, and lead the international response to the increased risk of nuclear conflict and catastrophe. 

Overview of Programs in Vienna (June 18-23)

Nuclear Ban Forum (18-19 June): All events from the Main Stage and the Vienna Hub will be broadcast. When you register to join, you’ll get the links to engage in the conversation from wherever you are. There is a lot on the program – from impacted communities, to risk analysis, deterrence discussions, regional approaches and more. If you want to join the conversation, we will be sharing the details via email to those who register as online participants

HINW22Vienna (20 June): The 2022 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons will be livestreamed. You’ll be able to watch the discussions online through a link that will be posted on the HINW website.

FIRST MEETING OF STATES PARTIES (21-23 June): The UN in Vienna will livestream the public sessions of the conference, you can connect through our portal here

MSP-TV: ICAN will stream MSP-TV to provide you a summary, highlights and insights from everything at the Nuclear Ban Week. We’ll kick off Sunday night to wrap up the Forum and then will be live twice a day (09:30 and 17:30 CEST) for the rest of the week. Details on how to access MSP-TV are coming soon!

Content: If you want to get up-to-speed on what will be covered during the 1MSP, read our new backgrounder here and check out an overview of ICAN policy recommendations in our paper here.Side events/NGO working papers: You can also check out the UN’s 1MSP website, which lists side events and published NGO working papers (click on the “Documentation” tab on the left and scroll down to “NGO working papers” which is under the “Correspondence” section).


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