An association of legal professionals honoured the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) with an award on Wednesday for its contributions to the global development of international law and the rule of law.
The annual award, from the International Section of the New York State Bar Association, recognizes a major contributor to international peace, global understanding and democracy.
The International Section presented its 2021 Award for Distinction in International Law and Affairs to UNODA for its “vital role in the effort to reduce the risks that nuclear weapons present to the very existence of life on earth,” said Jay L. Himes, chair of NYSBA’s International Law Section.
The High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, accepted the award on UNODA’s behalf at a virtual meeting on 27 January 2021.
“In presenting my Office today with this award, you have recognized and elevated years of daily, often behind-the-scenes work, by hundreds of professionals, to support the Member States of the United Nations in their pursuit of a more peaceful and secure world. I would like to express sincere thanks on behalf of especially those colleagues who have devoted many years of dedicated service to the broader disarmament community,” the High Representative said in her speech.
In her remarks, the High Representative also highlighted the vital role of organizations like the New York State Bar Association in responding to the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. “By organizing initiatives like your recent webinar on “Nuclear Weapons and International Law in the Contemporary Era”, where I had the privilege to speak, you are making important contributions to a worldwide conversation on fresh ways to approach this grave danger,” she noted.
Last August, the world remembered the atomic devastation unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Shortly thereafter, the United Nations celebrated its founding, and with it humanity’s renewed determination to establish conditions for an enduring peace.
To bring that high aspiration closer to reality, UNODA “will remain committed to facilitating inclusive dialogue and supporting innovative action for disarmament”, the High Representative said.
The High Representative closed her remarks by affirming her confidence in the world’s collective determination to work towards a world free of nuclear weapons. She quoted former United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, echoing his belief and faith that “the future will be all right because there will always be enough people to fight for a decent future.”
Text by Marykate Monaghan