The upcoming First Meeting of States Parties (1MSP) of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will take place against a backdrop of nuclear threat. Abolishing nuclear weapons is as imperative as ever. The TPNW seeks to eliminate nuclear weapons and build a lasting foundation for international cooperation without weapons of mass destruction. States parties will have the opportunity to establish the roadmap to implement the TPNW. This treaty, and the support it has received from states, civil society organisations, survivors from affected communities, and activists from all over the world shows that nuclear abolition is not a fanciful ambition, but a practical possibility.
In this edition
- Upcoming disarmament meetings
- Consultations on explosive weapons declaration
- Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons meeting of states parties
- Autonomous weapons Group of Governmental Experts
- UN cyber working group
- Small arms meeting
- 2022 NPT Review Conference
- Recently concluded disarmament meetings
- Second virtual informal discussion of the GGE on autonomous weapons systems
- UN Security Council open debate on protection of civilians
- Countdown to WILPF’s International Congress!
- WILPF launches podcast series exploring disarmament and Women, Peace, and Security
- Launch of Immoral Code
- WILPF report sets out the possibilities and options for a new instrument on cyber security
- WILPF submits views on arms transfers to the UNOHCHR
- Gender and Disarmament Database: Recommendation of the month
- Upcoming events
- Featured news
- Recommended reading
The final round of consultations for a political declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from Humanitarian Harm arising from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas will convene in Geneva on 17 June 2022. WILPF will participate in the meeting and will publish a report on our website.
The first meeting of states parties (1MSP) to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is scheduled to take place from 21–23 June in Vienna, Austria. You can check our website for documents related to the conference and other information for civil society. If you won’t be able to attend but still want to learn everything that is being discussed, subscribe to the Nuclear Ban Daily.
Ahead of the meeting, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) will hold a Nuclear Ban Forum in Vienna on 18–19 June 2022. WILPF will be there to learn, collaborate, celebrate, speak, and mobilise for a nuclear free future with friends and colleagues from around the world. Live streaming will be available!
The government of Austria will also hold the fourth conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons on 20 June 2022 in Vienna. The conference will bring together state representatives, international organisations, the scientific community, survivors and civil society to discuss and explore established and new research on the humanitarian consequences and risks of nuclear weapons. WILPF will be monitoring the meeting and will publish a report on our website.
As the antinuclear community prepares for 1MSP, we are welcoming an ever growing number of supporters to the Treaty. The latest addition to the treaty is Guatemala, which deposited the country’s instrument of ratification with the UN at an event in New York on 13 June, becoming the 62nd country to join the landmark agreement. This also means Central America is the first entire region to join the TPNW. Additionally, after welcoming the cities of Modena (Italy), Aghios Dimitrios (Greece), Gavdos (Greece), and Lund (Norway) for joining the ICAN Cities Appeal in April, we are now happy to welcome the city of Ottawa (Canada), which has officially voted to support the Appeal earlier this month!
WILPF Cameroon has recently had a meeting with the Ministry of External Relations of Cameroon (MINREX) ahead of the upcoming 1MSP. ICAN, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and key Ministries and institutions involved in disarmament related issues also participated in the meeting. The meeting created a framework for sustainable dialogue between government, civil society actors, and researchers involved in addressing the prohibition of nuclear weapons and calling on Cameroon to sign and ratify the Treaty. (Image credit: WILPF Cameroon)
On 27–28 June, the Chair of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on autonomous weapon systems will convene the last of three informal, virtual intersessional discussions. If you want to learn more about what was discussed in the previous two meetings, you can read our CCW Report.
On 25–29 July, the GGE will meet for its second formal session of 2022. Participants will focus on making recommendations for the meeting of high contracting parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which should be aimed at advancing the development of a normative and operational framework on autonomous weapons. Subscribe to the CCW Report for more coverage.
The eighth Biennial Meeting of States (BMS8) on the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons (UNPoA) is scheduled to take place from 27 June–1 July in New York. The deadline to register is 20 June 2022.
RCW will not publish a Small Arms Monitor during the BMS8 but will post the daily summaries of other organisations, including the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), of which WILPF is a member. In the lead up to the BMS8, IANSA will publish a series of briefing papers on core UNPoA topics which RCW will also include on its website. We are also publishing drafts of the BMS8 outcome document as they become available, per the informal consultation process that member states have been participating in, in the lead up to the BMS. WILPF and the Gender Equality Network for Small Arms Control (GENSAC) are co-hosting a side event on 28 June that will explore masculinities and small arms violence, building on a recent joint publication from the two organisations.
To catch up on what happened during the 2021 BMS7, review the final edition of our Small Arms Monitor.
The third substantive session of the UN's second Open-ended Working Group (OEWG II) on developments in the field of ICTs in the context of international security is scheduled to take place from 25–29 July 2022 in New York. This is the first substantive session of the OEWG II in which accreditation for civil society has been possible. It is hoped that this will enable a richer participation from stakeholders than has been possible in past OEWG sessions.
During the July session, states will negotiate an interim report. It is anticipated that the OEWG Chair will have an informal consultation with non-governmental stakeholders in the week before the session.
The Tenth Review Conference (RevCon) of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is scheduled to take place from 1–26 August 2022 in New York. Registration for civil society is now open for organisations that have been accredited to participate. Details on how to register are outlined in this information note. You can find further information about civil society participation, in addition to conference documents, working papers, and national reports at the Reaching Critical Will website. We are also posting information about side events, whether virtual or in-person. Subscribe to the NPT News in Review to receive reports and analysis from the RevCon, including the upcoming updated version of the 2022 NPT briefing book, which will be released in July.
On 1 and 3 June, the Chair of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on autonomous weapon systems (AWS) convened the second of three informal, virtual intersessional discussions. This round of informal discussions focused on the topics of human control, human judgement, and human-machine interaction; ethical considerations; and responsibility and accountability. While there continues to be emerging consensus around many aspects of these topics, states still diverge over whether applicable rules and standards should be legally binding or voluntary. They also diverge over whether ethics should simply inform a legal analysis, or need to be taken into account in their own right given the extreme risks posed by these weapons to human dignity and rights. If you want to learn more about what was discussed, you can read our CCW Report.
On 25 May 2022, the UN Security Council (UNSC) held its annual open debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. Participants discussed civilian harm arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, arms transfers, and cyber warfare. Most participants condemned attacks against education, healthcare, humanitarian assistance, and critical infrastructure, and many offered concrete recommendations to prevent and end civilian suffering. But some of the states participating in the debate are themselves fueling conflicts and facilitating civilian harm. See our full report online.
The countdown to WILPF’s International Congress has started! Registrations for our 33rd International Congress— our first virtual International Congress— are open to all WILPF members! Detailed information can be found in our Congress 2022 FAQ document and on the official Congress registration page. On the Future WILPF webpage you can also find the agenda and timings for Congress plenary sessions, the Future WILPF Roadmap (English, Français, Español, العربية), supporting documents, and the Future WILPF Calendar.
As previewed in the May edition of E-News, WILPF launched a new limited podcast series on Tuesday, 24 May, the International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament. “Think & Resist: Conversations about Feminism and Peace” explores how feminism can redefine security. Each episode features representatives from WILPF’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and Disarmament teams moderating discussions with experts about different themes in international peace and security from a feminist lens.
Four of six episodes have so far been released. The first episode sets the stage for the series by exploring what is WPS and what is disarmament. Episode 2 focuses on the gendered impacts of the international arms trade, and how arms proliferation undermines efforts to achieve the WPS Agenda. In episode 3, the guests delve into conversations about masculinity, militarism, armed conflict, and violence. The fourth episode is focused on digital gendered harm and cyber peace. A new episode will be released every week, with a total of six episodes. Look for it on http://www.wilpf.org/think-and-resist/# or on social media (#ThinkResist).
The Stop Killer Robots campaign launched Immoral Code, a documentary that contemplates the impact of killer robots (autonomous weapons) in our increasingly automated world, where machines could make decisions over who to kill or what to destroy. The film examines whether there are situations where it’s morally and socially acceptable to take life, and more importantly—would a computer know the difference? Immoral Code can be viewed here.
In a research report released in May, WILPF outlined possible options and key considerations for establishing a UN Programme of Action (PoA) on state behaviour in cyberspace. The proposal to create a cyber PoA emerged in 2020 and now has the support of around 60 member states. Based on an exploration of other UN PoAs, the report identifies areas where more consultation and decision-making is required, ideas on how to structure a cyber PoA, and offers recommendations for advancing a political process. It also outlines recommendations for ensuring the cyber PoA is gender-sensitive. RCW’s programme manager presented the report at a workshop held in Geneva on 19–20 May, which was organised by Canada, the Netherlands, and the CyberPeace Institute. The workshop brought together relevant civil society stakeholders as well as interested governments. RCW’s programme manager also shared the paper as part of an event at RightsCon, on 8 June.
WILPF’s disarmament and human rights teams have made a submission to the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (UN OHCHR) for its 2022 report on the impact of arms transfers on human rights. In the submission WILPF continues to welcome the interest of the Human Rights Council in addressing arms transfers. The submission highlights topics of key concern, including around understandings of “illicit”, the potential of ATT article 7(4) to address violence against children including their human rights, gendered impacts, ammunition, and the role of arms producers and retailers. It also points to past submissions that WILPF has made on this subject.
The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) has recently launched a paper called “Strength in Diversity: Amplifying the Voices of Women Campaigners Against Gun Violence”. The paper draws on personal insight and experience from a range of women members of IANSA working to prevent and end gun violence in The Philippines, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, South Africa, and Argentina. According to the organisation: “this paper aims to capture and collate knowledge and learning to help strengthen understanding of some of the ways in which gender dimensions affect women’s work and engagement in the areas of small arms and light weapons (SALW) control and gun violence prevention.” The Author notes that through this publication, we are able to gain insight into the different opinions and approaches that exist, and how they respond to the challenges of patriarchy and power: “In this way, sharing multiple experiences helps people see their broad scope and complexity, while also understanding the approaches that different women from diverse backgrounds bring to their work.”
Consultation on explosive weapons declaration
17 June | Geneva, Switzerland
ICAN Nuclear Ban Forum
18–19 June | Vienna, Austria
Fourth Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons
20 June | Vienna, Austria
First Meeting of States Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
21–23 June | Vienna, Austria
Eighth Biennial Meeting of States on the UNPoA on small arms
27 June–1 July | New York, USA
Second session of the CCW GGE on autonomous weapon systems
25–29 July 2022 | Geneva, Switzerland
Third substantive session of the UN's second Open-ended Working Group (OEWG II) on ICTs
25–29 July 2022 | New York, USA
June 12 Legacy
12 June 2022 |Online
Nuclear Ban Hubs
19–24 June 2022 | Hybrid format: in-person (Australia) and online
2022 Cyber Stability Conference: Protecting Critical Infrastructure And Services Across Sectors
5 July 2022 | Hybrid format: in-person (Geneva) and online
WILPF Congress 2022
16–24 July 2022 |Online
Explosive violence in Ukraine
According to the Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), the number of casualties from explosive violence in the Ukrainian conflict has reached 3,951 people. From this number, 1,945 were killed and 2,006 were injured across 456 incidents. Eighty-seven per cent (3,420) of civilian casualties have occurred in populated areas.
The UN Secretary–General Antonio Guterres said that the consequences for the world of Russia's invasion of Ukraine are worsening, with 1.6 billion people likely to be affected. A report presented at the UN highlighted that war may increase the number of food-insecure people by 47 million people in 2022, bringing it to 323 million by the end of the year. The document adds that it is estimated that up to 58 million more Africans may fall into poverty this year. Guterres stated that "There is only one way to stop this gathering storm: the Russian invasion of Ukraine must end".
As tensions mounted in late 2021 and into 2022 concerning a Russian invasion of Ukraine, many countries announced arms transfers to Ukraine. As the invasion began in late February, the Forum on the Arms Trade created a resource page to track developments related to such transfers, which includes links to official government statements from more than 20 countries plus the European Union, in addition to civil society resources, and more.
Use of landmines in Libya
New information from Libyan agencies and demining groups links the Wagner Group to the use of banned landmines and booby traps in Libya in 2019–2020, according to Human Rights Watch. The Wagner Group, a private Russian military security contractor with apparent links to Russia’s government, backed Khalifa Hiftar’s Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) in their attack on the Libyan capital, Tripoli. These mines killed at least three Libyan deminers before the mines’ locations were identified. Antipersonnel landmines, which are designed to be exploded by the presence, proximity, or contact of a person, violate international humanitarian law because they cannot discriminate between civilians and combatants. Civil society organisations are calling the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), mandated since 2011 to investigate war crimes and other grave crimes in Libya, to examine the role of Libyan and foreign armed groups in laying antipersonnel mines during the 2019–2020 conflict.
International Atomic Energy Agency urges Iran to resume talks about JCPOA
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) urged Iran to resume talks to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The United Nations agency asked Iran to start talks immediately to avoid a crisis that could make it "extremely more difficult" to salvage the deal. A few days earlier, Iran disconnected some cameras that were installed to monitor its nuclear activities by the IAEA. The development comes a day after the IAEA’s board of governors censured Tehran for failing to provide “credible information” over manufactured nuclear material found at three undeclared sites in the country.
China urges US to resume talks with DPRK on nuclear weapons
China’s United Nations (UN) envoy stated that Beijing does not want to see the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) carry out a new nuclear test, which is partly why China vetoed a United States (US)-led resolution at the UN Security Council to impose new sanctions on the country over renewed ballistic missile launches. China has been pushing for an easing of sanctions on humanitarian grounds and in the hope that the DPRK can be convinced to return to negotiations with the United States on giving up its nuclear weapons. The Chinese envoy has urged the US to ease unilateral sanctions on DPRK and end joint military exercises with the Republic of Korea in a bid to revive talks with the country.
Protest in support of TPNW takes place in Arizona
Activists gathered on 8 June at the Raytheon Missiles & Defence plant in Tucson, United States to read a statement in support of the TPNW, protest the nuclear weapons work happening there, and call on the US government to join the 1MSP in Vienna. Raytheon has a contract for the production of nuclear missiles, which violates the nuclear ban treaty. The activists from Tucson joined an ever growing number of people around the world conducting nationwide protests saying no to nuclear weapons.
Investigations of war crimes in Yemen
The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Sherpa submitted a criminal complaint with the Paris Judiciary Tribunal against French arms companies with the support of Amnesty International France. The organisations are calling for the initiation of a criminal investigation into the arms companies Dassault Aviation, Thales, and MBDA France for their possible complicity in alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Yemen, potentially enabled by their arms exports to Saudi Arabia (SA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The United Nations describes the conflict in Yemen and its consequences as the “greatest humanitarian catastrophe” of our time, while international organisations, NGOs and experts have claimed for years that attacks by all warring parties may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Despite the overwhelming evidence of indiscriminate attacks on Yemeni civilians since 2015, France has delivered more than 8 billion euros worth of war materials, ammunition and maintenance services to SA and the UAE during the period from 2015 to 2020. The complaint submitted argues that French companies, while fueling the conflict, may also be aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly perpetrated by the Coalition.
Additionally, earlier this month, a report from the United States Government Accountability Office concluded that the US State Department and the Defense Department have failed to assess civilian casualties by a Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen and the use of American-made weapons in the killings. The report focuses on attacks in recent years by the Saudi-led coalition that has carried out deadly strikes using combat jets and munitions that have been supplied and maintained largely by American companies with the approval of the State Department and the Pentagon.
A new analysis by The Washington Post and Security Force Monitor at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute (SFM) affirmed that the majority of the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen have been supported by the US. According to the experts,“As long as the international humanitarian law violations by the Saudis and U.S. sales to support those operations are both ongoing, there are serious concerns about U.S. complicity in the Saudi war crimes that result.”
This news came in the context of the recently agreed cease-fire between Yemen’s warring parties. As the UN announced in early June, the parties have agreed to renew a nationwide truce for another two months. The initial cease-fire came into effect on 2 April 2022, and although each side at times accused the other of violating the ceasefire, it was the first nationwide truce in the past six years of the conflict.
Publicly traded gun and ammunition companies have raked in unprecedented profits during the pandemic in the United States
During the pandemic, gun and ammunition sales have skyrocketed in the United States, scoring record-breaking profits for the companies that manufacture them. Securities and Exchange Commission filings show that, since the pandemic began, publicly traded gun companies have netted around three billion dollars, far outpacing previous years’ earnings. At Sturm, Ruger, & Co., gross profits nearly doubled between 2019 and 2021 to almost $280 million—its highest total ever. The chemical and ammunition manufacturing company Olin Corp likewise experienced unprecedented highs, recording more than two billion dollars in ammunition profits over the same period. Smith & Wesson earned more than half a billion dollars since the pandemic began. You can read more about it here.
Protest at CANSEC arms fair in Ottawa
In early June activists organised a protest against the transnational corporations that market and sell weapons for profit at the CANSEC arms show in Ottawa, Canada. CANSEC is North America's biggest arms show and several companies participate in it, including Lockheed Martin, the world's largest arms producer. (Image credit: World Beyond War).
UN adopts final draft of document on environment and armed conflict
The UN International Law Commission has adopted the final form of its draft principles on the Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts (A/CN.4/L.968). Coming 50 years after the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference), and a decade in the making, the PERAC principles could be a valuable baseline of conduct around the environment in conflict. The revised commentaries will be published in the upcoming months and the principles will go to the United Nations General Assembly for final comment and adoption by states.
Young Women in Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Mentorship Programme 2nd Edition—Call for applications
The Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non‑Proliferation (VCDNP) and the International Affairs Institute (IAI) in the framework of the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium (EUNPDC) invite female undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students as well as recent graduates to apply to a Young Women in Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Mentorship Programme. The mentorship programme, which will run from 15 September 2022 to 15 May 2023, seeks to engage young women in the field of non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament, and promote awareness about these issues. The deadline for applications is 8 July 2022. Applications should be submitted in English using the online application form.
Events to celebrate pride month
The Reclaim Pride Coalition (RPC) has announced that the 4th annual Queer Liberation March, entitled the Queer Liberation March for Trans and BIPOC Freedom, Reproductive Justice, and Bodily Autonomy, will take place on Sunday, 26 June, in New York. International Queers Against Nukes (IQAN) and Gays Against Guns, among many others, will participate.
Webinar: "Cyber offence uncovered: Introducing the Cyber Arms Watch", The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, 7 June 2022
Kelly Fisher, Nic Marsh and Erik Melander, “Mass shootings are mostly committed by men: How might a gender lens help us understand this?”, 4 June 2022
Ray Acheson and Allison Pytlak, “Informal discussions of the GGE on autonomous weapons consider human control, ethics, and accountability," CCW Report, Vol. 10, No. 4, 3 June 2022
Kristina Wilfore, “A digital resilience toolkit for women in politics”, #ShePersisted, June 2022
Webinar: “Cyber norms, law and accountability: Roads to progress?” The Washington Foreign Law Society, 31 May 2022
Ray Acheson, "Rhetoric vs. reality at the UN Security Council debate on the protection of civilians," Reaching Critical Will, 26 May 2022
David Vine, “Washington already calling for thousands of new troops, permanent bases in Europe,” Responsible Statecraft, 23 May 2022
Bruno Langeani and others, "Fatal Diversion – The leakage of weapons from the Legal to the illegal market in the state of São Paulo," Instituto Sou da Paz, May 2022
"Ten goals to prevent diversion of small arms and light weapons," IANSA, May 2022
"Small arms and light weapons: Why strict controls are urgently needed," IANSA, May 2022 (link)
Allison Pytlak, "Advancing a Global Cyber Programme of Action: Options and priorities," WILPF, May 2022
Ray Acheson, “No Normalicemos las armas nucleares ni la guerra, ilegalicémoslas,” WILPF Spain, May 2022
“How will Sweden relate to NATO’s nuclear weapons policy?”, ICAN Partner Organisation Svenska Läkare mot Kärnvapen - SLMK, May 2022
Katitza Rodriguez and Karen Gullo, “Negociations over UN Cybercrime Treaty under way in New York, with EEF and partners urging focus on human rights," EFF, 3 March 2022