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Release (6/7/2022): 40 Years after the Million Person March, Calls Grow for the U.S. to Engage Talks to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

For Immediate Release: June 7, 2022

Forty years after a million people rallied in New York City for nuclear disarmament, organizations representing hundreds of thousands are releasing a Statement on Tuesday, June 7, calling on the United States to join ground-breaking diplomatic talks to eliminate nuclear weapons later this month.

So far, 61 United Nations member-states have ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). These countries, joined by observer states, NGOs, and members of civil society will gather for the First Meeting of States Parties (1MSP) from June 21-23, 2022 in Vienna, Austria. 

While quick to condemn other countries’ nuclear threats, the Biden administration and U.S. media have been near-silent on the TPNW, which entered into force at the UN in January 2021 and earned the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. 

“The elimination of nuclear weapons – which is the only way to avoid mutually assured destruction – is gaining diplomatic force around the world,” said Ralph Hutchison of the Nuclear Ban Treaty Collaborative and the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance. “An important first step for the U.S. to take is to go to Vienna and participate in the 1MSP and the meetings that precede it: the Nuclear Ban Forum (June 18-19, hosted by ICAN) and the Humanitarian Impact Conference (June 20, hosted by Austria).”

Towards this end, on June 7, signers to the Statement on the Existential Threat of Nuclear Weapons and on the TPNW (below) will hold actions at federal buildings, nuclear facilities, and weapons sites (more information, including endorsers listed at www.nuclearbantreaty.org). 

On June 11-12, virtual and in-person programs in NYC and Washington D.C. will explore the legacy of the June 12, 1982 Demonstration for Nuclear Disarmament and Human Needs (see June 12 Legacy; Roots Action’s Defuse Nuclear War; and the Remembering and Re-Energizing the Nuclear Disarmament Rally of 1982 in Front of the White House).

Contact: Sofia Rose Wolman (campaign manager, Nuclear Ban Treaty Collaborative), nuclearbancollab@gmail.com. Experts on the TPNW and on the June 12, 1982 legacy are available upon request.

STATEMENT ON THE EXISTENTIAL THREAT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND ON THE TREATY ON THE PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS

The power to initiate a global apocalypse lies in the hands of the leaders of nine nations.

As 122 nations of the world indicated when they adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in July, 2017, this is unacceptable.

As concerns about the threat of nuclear weapons re-enter the public consciousness, it is important to know that humankind is not without an answer to the nuclear threat. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force on January 22, 2021, provides a clear pathway to the elimination of the nuclear threat.

We call on all nuclear armed states to take immediate steps to:

  • engage the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,
  • attend the First Meeting of States Parties, and
  • sign, ratify and implement the Treaty.

We also call on the US media to recognize the existence of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and to include the Treaty in discussions, articles, and editorials regarding the nuclear threat and methods available to address it.

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