Earlier this month, NAPF’s Policy and Advocacy Director, Christian N. Ciobanu traveled to Geneva for discussions on nuclear justice, based on the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Addressing the Legacy of Nuclear Weapons, tabled by the Republics of Kazakhstan and Kiribati and promoted by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Conversations also focused on the implementation of Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

On June 12, Ciobanu met with several representatives of the Pacific Small Island Developing States. At this meeting, the diplomats discussed the importance of drafting a joint statement on nuclear justice for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as one of the few forums, where they can directly engage with the Nuclear Weapon States. Ciobanu also discussed Kiribati, Kazakhstan, and the Marshall Islands’ working paper on nuclear justice and how the Pacific Small Island Developing States can utilize the working paper to present their perspectives on nuclear justice at the NPT Preparatory Committee (NPT PrepCom).

Ciobanu also attended the coordination committee meeting of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was hosted by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

On June 13, Ciobanu moderated a panel event on the legacy of nuclear weapons, which was sponsored by the Missions of Kiribati and Kazakhstan and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation with the support of Foreign Ministry of Austria. Zhangeldy Syrymbet, the Counsellor of the Mission of Kazakhstan, Dr. Becky Alexis Martin, Associate Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Bradford; Alicia Sanders Zakre, the Policy and Advocacy Coordinator of ICAN, and Benetick Kabua Maddison, the Executive Director of the Marshallese Educational Initiative shared their views on nuclear justice.

Zhangeldy Syrymbet of Kazakhstan highlighted the need for States Parties of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to discuss the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons at the upcoming PrepCom. 

Benetick Kabua Maddison of the Marshallese Educational Initiative shared the tragic humanitarian and environmental impacts of the U.S. nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands and how the Marshallese tried to request the U.N.’s assistance in halting the nuclear testing program. Kabua Maddison hiighlighted the need for all members of the international community to remember that due to the ongoing nuclear legacy in the Marshall Islands, it takes time to build trust with the Marshallese community.  

Dr. Becky Alexis-Martin discussed her recent participatory research project with the citizens of Kiritimati (Christmas) Island in the Republic of Kiribati, another site of nuclear weapons testing, in raising awareness amongst the local Indigenous groups about the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. In this regard, Dr. Alexis-Martin underscored the importance of epistemic nuclear justice.

At the end of the event, Alicia Sanders-Zakre of ICAN discussed the need for States Parties to the TPNW to develop national plans on the implementation of Articles 6 and 7 of the TPNW. She highlighted the need to include affected communities and listen to their recommendations and views on the implementation of the aforementioned articles. Finally, Sanders-Zakre recommended that affected communities have the opportunity to share their testimonies at the NPT Preparatory Committee (NPT PrepCom)

Overall, the side event and other activities were successful and helped states to recognize the urgent need for the international community to address nuclear justice at the NPT PrepCom.