UNI Global Union statement to the UN conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons (ban treaty), leading to their elimination.

  • UNI Global Union welcomes the draft for the ban treaty
  • It is a historical declaration on the way to a nuclear weapon free world

As the General Secretary of UNI Global Union which represents 20 million members in the service sectors worldwide, I urge all governments to work towards creating a credible and effective treaty which will lead to a world free from nuclear weapons.

UNI Global Union has been active in calling for peace which is a fundamental requirement as a base for worker and human rights and is consequently written into our organisation’s DNA. We are a member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN. World leaders have failed to deliver on a solution to the threat of a nuclear Armageddon and it is time to reset the clock by taking affirmative action.

UNI Global Union takes note that in a cover letter accompanying the draft, Ambassador Whyte Gomez, the Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations Office in Geneva urged the negotiators to “work together, with a sense of urgency toward a successful conference that will conclude by agreeing on a legally binding instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons.”

The preamble to the specific provisions, which describe the prohibitions and positive obligations established by the treaty, underscores the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons and the consequence need to make every effort to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again under any circumstances.”

The catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons transcend national borders, pose grave implications for human survival, the environment, socioeconomic development, the global economy, food security and for the health of future generations, and the disproportionate impact of ionizing radiation on maternal health and on girls.

UNI Global Union is a strong advocate of the need for a ban on nuclear weapons, underlined by the motion passed at the World Congress in Nagasaki in 2010, where we formed long lasting relations with the remaining victims of the nuclear bomb (Hibakusha) and their descendants. Indeed, for the last 12 years the young Nagasaki Hiroshima Peace Messengers have visited UNI’s head office in Nyon before delivering their petition calling for a ban on nuclear weapons to the United Nations in Geneva.

The draft currently before the United Nations recognises “the suffering of the victims of the use of nuclear weapons (Hibakusha) as well as those affected by the testing of nuclear weapons”. This is an appropriate and essential point. Provisions in the operative sections of the draft treaty assert the rights of those victims, including their right to medical, social, and economic assistance.

With a strong draft now in hand and three weeks of negotiations underway, during which the final Treaty can be made even stronger, it’s important that all governments now prove their commitment to a world without nuclear weapons by participating in this historic process.
UNI Global Union urges all governments to take part at the negotiations and to sign the Treaty.

Yours sincerely,
Philip J. Jennings, General Secretary, UNI Global Union

Download the statement here