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HomeLanguageEnglishThe Future of Nuclear Disarmament Lies with the Younger Generation

The Future of Nuclear Disarmament Lies with the Younger Generation


By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS | 1 December 2023 (IDN) — With little or no progress on nuclear disarmament worldwide or the abolition of nuclear weapons, there is a widespread belief that the responsibility for the continued global campaign should now be passed onto the young generation of anti-nuclear activists.

A joint statement by a group of over 35 mostly youth organizations*, released on 29 November during the current Second Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), says: “As we stand here before you representing a global coalition of young changemakers, we recognize that we are united towards the common goal of a world without nuclear weapons.”

The courage to act unifies us and inspires our vision of a nuclear-weapons-free world, the statement adds.

Continuing its appeal, the coalition says:

“As a generation that grew up alongside violent wars and an escalating climate crisis, we have not been handed a future of peace and security. Young people from around the world are at the frontlines of climate action—directly grappling with the consequences of neglect from previous generations.

The emerging generation is critical in creating a truly peaceful and secure future. And now, as nuclear threats escalate, we recognize that we must come together to address the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons.

The threat that nuclear weapons pose would destroy our history, our present, and our future, as their use would place all life in jeopardy. Eradicating them is inherently an altruistic act not just for current generations, but for the past and especially for the future. The presence of nuclear weapons on our planet is a crime against future generations. They demand our attention and action.

Without future generations, the past and present disappears as our accomplishments attained through the course of human history are endowed to a lifeless planet. The TPNW symbolizes our act of courage to preserve and protect the most fundamental right: the right to life.

As global youth, we affirm that nuclear weapons do not contribute to human security and defense. They are an inherently violent force in security, as they amplify fear and mistrust. The belief that nuclear deterrence is a sustainable and viable security doctrine is false, and ensures a perpetual state of nuclear terror. We are always just one miscalculation away from global destruction.

The TPNW provides the best framework for security through cooperation, as it is the only Treaty to prohibit their possession. It requires States parties, NGOs, and members of the public to continue to delegitimize nuclear weapons by supporting and expanding multilateral commitments for peace.

Through the inclusion of diverse voices, support for NGOs, and an expanded educational focus, nuclear weapons will be recognized for what they are: immoral weapons with an indiscriminate goal of destruction.

We stand united in support of this treaty because it is the pillar of a new global order of peace and security based on the fundamental respect for humanity.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons affirms our global commitment to nuclear disarmament, especially as outlined by Article VI of the NPT. The salience of Article 1 is growing today as States reaffirm their nuclear postures and abandon previous commitments made towards nuclear de-escalation.

The recent explicit threats to use nuclear weapons represents the greatest challenge to our global security. In addition, the expansion of stockpiles, transfer of nuclear weapons, and test preparations pose a serious escalation of insecurity. The regime of fear, which nuclear weapons impose on our lives, has never been greater.

We must reaffirm our commitment to the prohibitions outlined in Article I of the TPNW to promote peace and ensure that the threat of nuclear weapons is definitively extinguished.

We cannot forget the victims and survivors of the nuclear age in our fight to abolish such horrific weapons. In line with Article 6 and 7, we recognize that the reparations necessary to mitigate the generational consequences of nuclear testing require a global commitment to the wellbeing of past, present, and future generations of victims.

Each State party is expected to enact substantive measures in ensuring proper care and remediation for affected communities in accordance with fair standards and international law. Per Article 7, State parties should continue to examine measures to work with each other, as well as members of the public. Victim assistance is effective when there is significant care and cooperation.

As youth striving for a safe and peaceful future, we ask you to undertake the following:

1. Commit to the inclusion of youth in decision making. Article 8 necessitates our inclusion in the meeting of State parties as a relevant voice by recognizing the importance of our fresh perspectives and vested stake in the future. We must be represented in disarmament fora, including a recommended 20% youth composition in the working groups of the TPNW and State’s delegations.

2. Elevate the voices of women. We cannot ignore the disproportionate impact of ionizing radiation on women, and the historical lack of their voices in disarmament conversations.. By further including women in the discussions on TPNW, we will be better equipped to achieve our disarmament goals.

3. Affirm an expanded effort on universalization of the TPNW. States must act in unison to bolster dialogue and cooperation in achieving the goals of Article 12. Engagement with States and non-states parties, as well as civil society and members of the public, are key in moving towards complete adoption of the treaty.

4. Promote discussions regarding complementarity between the NPT and the TPNW. We appeal to all non-state parties to comply with international law and ratify the TPNW as soon as possible, recognizing that the treaty is the natural progression of Article VI of the NPT.

5. Expand tangible support for victim assistance programs. In accordance with the positive obligations as outlined in Articles 6 & 7, States parties must continue to bolster such initiatives, including proper healthcare, environmental remediation, reparations, and recognition.

6. Foster greater international policies to promote the expansion of nuclear disarmament education, including oral histories of nuclear violence and the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons. We believe that investing in and fostering education can facilitate the global adoption of the treaty.

7. Provide additional resources for States and civil society. It is imperative that State parties, NGOs, and members of affected communities are provided strong financial and logistical support in their attendance of future disarmament fora, in order to ensure that a diversity of perspectives and cultures are adequately represented.

A world with nuclear weapons is a world where the past can be erased, the present is uncertain, and the future is never guaranteed. As youth, we recognize that nuclear weapons pose a critical inflection point for humanity. We all have an obligation to listen to the survivors of nuclear use and testing, and recognize that we cannot allow such inhumane actions to persist.

We must turn fear into courage to create a future without nuclear weapons. We must affirm the TPNW to ensure the safety of our people, our planet, and our future. As the Russel-Einstein Manifesto declares, “Remember your humanity, and forget the rest.”

Coordinated by Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and endorsed by the following, mostly youth, organizations:

ABC for Peace (Action and Bridge by healthCare workers for Peace)

Human Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy

Comitato Senzatomica;

Connect Hiroshima

Environmentalists Against War

Greek Young Naturefriends

Hampton Roads Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Hampton Roads for Palestine

ICAN Aotearoa New Zealand

International Disarmament Institute, Pace University

Japan NGO Network for Nuclear Weapons Abolition

Kakuwaka Hiroshima


Malaysian Youth Diplomacy (MyDiplomacy)

Mines Action Canada

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Nuclear Truth Project

Nyuklia Eureka

Pax Christi International

Pax Christi Vlaanderen

Peace Movement Aotearoa

Physicians for Social Responsibility – Kansas City

Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles

Reverse the Trend

Secure Scotland



Soka Gakkai International (SGI)

SPARK – Social Justice Group

Steppe Organization for Peace (STOP): Qazaq Youth Initiative for Nuclear Justice

Swedish Physicians against Nuclear Weapons

The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War’s (IPPNW) Medical Student Movement

The Global Sunrise Project

Veterans For Peace Spokane Chapter 35

Women‘s International League for Peace and Freedom Germany

Youth Nuclear Peace Summit [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo: Carlo Abrate, secretary of Senzatomica, and Aigerim Seitenova of Steppe Organisation for Peace (STOP), a third-generation survivor of more than 400 nuclear tests by the Soviet Union in Kazakhstan, issued a powerful statement on behalf of the coalition of young people from around the world supporting the TPNW, Youth4TPNW. 29 November 2023, United Nations, New York. Credits: Darren Ornitz studio.

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