AT the time of writing, it has been almost two years since Malaysia signed the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). It is commendable that Malaysia signed this treaty at the earliest possible opportunity (on Sept 20,2017) and was one of the first 50 nations to do so. To date, 70 countries have signed the treaty and 26 others have ratified it. For the TPNW to come into force, it has to be ratified by 50 countries. We have already crossed the halfway point.
I am confident that our government is working towards the ratification of the treaty and Malaysia’s assent will definitely strengthen the movement for the abolition of nuclear weapons – the most demonic and destructive weapons humanity has ever invented – and help ensure lasting peace and security in the world.
Malaysia has always been a strong advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Prior to the adoption of the TPNW by the United Nations (UN) on July 7,2017, Malaysia suggested several constructive amendments and refinements of language to strengthen the treaty. Further, we were among the co-sponsors of the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty.
Some 10 years before the TPNW was adopted, the governments of Malaysia and Costa Rica had submitted a model “Nuclear Weapons Convention” (NWC) to the UN General Assembly, which was then circulated as an official document. The NWC has become dormant with the adoption of the TPNW.
Most recently, our Permanent Representative to the UN, Datuk Syed Mohd Hasrin Tengku Hussin @ Syed Hussin, was the chair of the third session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) held from April 29 to May 10,2019 at the UN Headquarters in New York.
Such is the great trust and repute that Malaysia enjoys in the international community with regards to the abolition of nuclear weapons.
As citizens, we must aid our government’s in its quest to eliminate these inhumane weapons. I call upon our government to further engage the public, including students, on the issue of nuclear weapons abolition, and strive to work with organisations and individuals who cherish the dream of a future free of nuclear weapons.
In her speech accepting the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican), Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing, said: “We were not content to be victims... We rose up. We shared our stories of survival. We said: humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist.”
It is unconscionable that in an age where chemical weapons, cluster munitions and landmines have been banned, nuclear weapons still exist.
The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) has stated that “The use of even a single nuclear weapon with a relatively small destructive power in or near a populated area is likely to produce humanitarian needs that will be difficult to address... there is presently no effective capacity at the international level to deliver appropriate humanitarian assistance to survivors if nuclear weapons were ever to be used” (https://bit.ly/2lNxmqg).
Perhaps the last statement that the great scientist Albert Einstein signed was the Russell-Einstein manifesto calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, which was made public on July 9,1955. Towards the end, it said: “There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge, and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? We appeal, as human beings, to human beings: Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death.”
We must put an end to nuclear weapons to ensure lasting peace for our future generations.
DINESH CHANDREN , Petaling Jaya