DPRK nuclear test: Civil society warns of new nuclear arms race

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, a partner of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) strongly condemns the nuclear test announced by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 6 January.

The DPRK government justified the alleged hydrogen bomb test as a way to protect itself from a potential attack by the US. The test by DPRK fuels the misguided and dangerous notion that the threat of nuclear weapons is an effective deterrent.

Nuclear weapons are unacceptable in their nature. Their use inflicts indiscriminate and barbaric harm on humans and disastrous environmental impacts.

Need of a clear norm

The new test by the DPRK is another indication of the inability of the current legal regime to prevent states from seeking, possessing, or modernizing nuclear weapons. The absence of a clear international legal standard that prohibits nuclear weapons has persuaded some states that their possession and the threat of their use are somehow still legitimate. This could lead to a new arms race more dangerous than the one we faced during the Cold War.

“Nuclear weapons do not provide security, they undermine it,” says Ray Acheson, Director of Reaching Critical Will, WILPF’s disarmament programme. “Nuclear weapons must be banned once and for all, as way to facilitate their total elimination.”

Opportunity for action

In February 2016 states will meet in Geneva to conduct talks to conduct talks on legal measures against nuclear weapons. WILPF strongly encourages all UN member states to constructively participate and to use this working group as an opportunity to discuss and develop elements for a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

Prohibiting nuclear weapons through a legally-binding international treaty is a practical, feasible, and effective way to help facilitate nuclear disarmament in the current context.

This article was adapted from an ICAN press release.