On 30 September 2015 the Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs KIM Won-soo officially opened an exhibit on the efforts of the United Nations to eliminate nuclear weapons. This exhibit was staged to raise awareness of the second International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, which is observed annually on 26 September. This day is an initiative by the Non-Aligned Movement to remind the world of the grave danger that nuclear weapons still pose to the world. The exhibit features key statements from the eight past and current Secretaries-General of the United Nations over the past 70 years on the need for nuclear disarmament.
Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs KIM Won-soo expressed appreciation for the leadership of the eight Secretaries-General on nuclear disarmament and stated that it sends a strong message that nuclear weapons are the most dangerous invention made by humanity, and that they must be destroyed without delay.
President of the United Nations General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft referred to the recent appeal of Pope Francis in the General Assembly about the threat of nuclear destruction. Even though progress has been clearly unsatisfactory, this must not diminish our efforts to achieve a nuclear weapon free world. As long as nuclear weapons exist, it cannot be ruled out that nuclear weapons will not be used, by accident or on purpose.
Deputy for Legal and International Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran Abbas Araghchi spoke for the Non-Aligned Movement as he expressed concern about the lack of progress made by nuclear weapon states to fulfill their multilateral legal obligations on nuclear disarmament. He suggested that it is time to take a new and comprehensive approach on nuclear disarmament, including through a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons.
Chair-designate of the First Committee Karel van Oosterom referred to first resolution adopted by the General Assembly, which called for the elimination of atomic weapons. While progress has been made, much can and needs to be done. International and multilateral cooperation is crucial to achieve total nuclear disarmament.
The opening of the exhibit was followed by the General Assembly meeting on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The remarks of Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on this occasion can be read here. The exhibit can be viewed on the first floor of the Conference Building at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Written by Maaike Verbruggen
Pictures from the event: