ICAN campaigners from India, Pakistan and Nepal call for global ban on nuclear weapons
January 21, 2014
In the bustling Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, ICAN campaigners from across South Asia met last week to build support for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. They issued a declaration calling on governments in the region to work with other nations around the world to “negotiate and sign an international treaty to ban nuclear weapons”.
The participants, many of whom were medical students and doctors, came from India, Pakistan and across Nepal. They presented reports on their national activities and proposals for greater regional ICAN collaboration in coming years. “A nuclear-weapon-free earth is very close,” said organiser Neeraj Sharma. “Let’s believe, let’s act!”
As a country completely surrounded by nuclear-armed China and India, Nepal has a particular interest in promoting a world free from nuclear weapons. Campaigners took to the streets for a bicycle rally and public demonstration and met with officials from the Nepalese foreign ministry to promote the idea of a ban.
As the host of the United Nations’ regional disarmament office for Asia Pacific, Nepal is well placed to be a leader in the process of negotiating a ban on nuclear weapons, and it has a clear security imperative to do so. The radiological and climatic effects of nuclear weapon detonations do not respect national borders.
Physicians for Social Responsibility Nepal, an ICAN partner organisation, coordinated last week’s meeting and hopes to arrange similar meetings in the future. “We call upon all the countries in South Asia to take serious and effective actions to build harmonious relations, discourage the production and storage of nuclear warheads and take steps towards the complete abolition of nuclear weapons,” stated the group.