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April 29, 2013

NPT states strengthen stance against use of nuclear weapons  
29 April 2013

Pretoria - In the interest of the very survival of humanity, parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) have made a call that nuclear weapons should never be used again, under any circumstances.

They say the catastrophic effects of a nuclear weapon detonation, whether by accident, miscalculation or design, cannot be adequately addressed and that all efforts must be exerted to eliminate this threat.

In a joint statement by state parties, which was delivered by the Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, Abdul Samad Minty, during the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in Geneva, the countries said the only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons will never be used again is through their total elimination.

They believed it was the shared responsibility of all states to prevent the use of nuclear weapons; to prevent their vertical and horizontal proliferation and to achieve nuclear disarmament, including through fulfilling the objectives of the NPT and achieving its universality.

The full implementation of the 2010 Action Plan and previous outcomes aimed at achieving the objectives of the NPT must therefore not be postponed any further, the countries said in their statement titled 'The humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons'.

Minty said this was an issue which affected not only governments, but every citizen in the world.

'By raising awareness about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, civil society has a crucial role to play, side-by-side with governments, as we fulfil our responsibilities.

'We owe it to future generations to work together to rid our world of the threat posed by nuclear weapons,' he said.

Past experience from the use and testing of nuclear weapons had amply demonstrated the unacceptable harm caused by the immense, uncontrollable destructive capability and indiscriminate nature of these weapons.

The parties felt that the effects of a nuclear weapon detonation were not constrained by national borders, making it an issue of deep concern to all.

'Beyond the immediate death and destruction caused by a detonation, socio-economic development will be impeded, the environment will be destroyed, and future generations will be robbed of their health, food, water and other vital resources,' said Minty.

The NPT came into force in 1970 with the avowed goal of stopping countries from building a nuclear bomb.

Currently, 189 countries have ratified the treaty.

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