The nuclear abolition movement has had some significant victories. Celebrating these helps to inspire us to persevere, even when we don’t seem to be making much headway. They’re proof that the will of the people can prevail. Read about the victories below and celebrate them in whatever way you consider appropriate.
Timeline of victories
- 1946: The United Nations General Assembly, in its very first resolution, calls for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and establishes a commission to deal with the problem raised by the discovery of atomic energy.
- 1955: Eleven leading scientists and intellectuals sign the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, warning of the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and calling on world leaders to find peaceful solutions to international tensions.
- 1970: The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – an international agreement promoting nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament and the right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy – enters into force globally.
- 1981: Thousands of women march to Greenham Common, a military base in the United Kingdom housing 96 nuclear missiles, and commence a 19-year protest which results in the removal of the missiles and the closure of the base.
- 1982: The biggest demonstration to that date takes place in New York City, with one million people gathering in support of the second United Nations Special Session on Disarmament and to express opposition to nuclear weapons.
- 1984: New Zealand becomes the first ever single-nation nuclear-free zone, with the Labour government led by David Lange implementing a nuclear prohibition policy despite considerable opposition from its Western allies.
- 1985: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War win the Nobel Peace Prize for raising awareness of the catastrophic consequences of nuclear warfare and for generating opposition to nuclear weapons.
- 1991: The cold war comes to an end, marking the beginning of an era of reduced reliance on nuclear weapons, with Russia and the United States beginning the process of dismantling thousands of their nuclear weapons.
- 1991: South Africa completes the process of dismantling its entire arsenal of nuclear weapons, making it the first and only nation in the world to have developed nuclear weapons and then voluntarily given them up completely.
- 1995: Civil society organizations from across the globe join forces to create Abolition 2000, a network which shifts the world’s focus from nuclear arms control to nuclear weapons abolition following the Non-Proliferation Treaty meeting of 1995.
- 1996: The International Court of Justice – the highest court in the world – declares that there exists an obligation under international law to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to total nuclear disarmament.
- 1996: The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty – an international treaty banning all nuclear explosions in all environments, whether for military or civilian purposes – opens for signature, following a sustained campaign.
- 2007: The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is launched throughout the world with the aim of generating a groundswell of popular support for a comprehensive treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.
- 2010: More than 26 million petition signatures are presented to the president of the Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in New York calling on nations to agree to begin work immediately on a nuclear abolition treaty.
- Dedicate a day to nuclear abolition: Organize a mini anti-nuclear festival with exhibitions, music and performances.
- Re-enact an important victory: Pretend you led a great anti-nuclear rally of the 1980s. What would your speech be?