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Lawmakers must use their voices to promote disarmament, says Ban


Lawmakers must use their voices to promote disarmament, says Ban

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today exhorted parliamentarians from across the globe to promote the cause of a nuclear-weapon-free world, a “personal dream” of the United Nations chief.

“After decades of work, it is clear that real change will come only through consistent, strong public pressure – on a global scale, and from the grassroots. That is why you are so crucial,” Mr. Ban told a joint gathering of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND).

Lawmakers are experts in enacting and upholding the rule of law, he said, and their voices must stay at the heart of the debate.”

“It is the world’s taxpayers who are funding the development of nuclear arms,” the Secretary-General said. “Tomorrow, they could be paying a different – and much higher – price,” he emphasized, calling for an end to this “senseless” waste of resources.

Mr. Ban hails from the Republic of Korea, which he noted has witnessed the devastation wrought by nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in nearby Japan in 1945 and “has itself experienced the nuclear threat.”

The weapons do not enhance global peace and security, but rather, he said today, “put them in jeopardy.”

Characterizing them as a “moral dead-end,” Mr. Ban pointed out that momentum is building to rid the world of the scourge.

Earlier this week, the United States revealed that it has more than 5,000 warheads in its nuclear arsenal, which he said is a “chilling figure.”

But the country’s revelation is sign of its transparency, which in turn builds trust, the Secretary-General said.

Today’s gathering, entitled Advancing Nuclear Disarmament: The Power of Parliaments, comes as more than 100 nations are taking part in the five-yearly review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to discuss how to further full implementation and enhance the universality of the pact.

Mr. Ban told parliamentarians that he hopes negotiators at the NPT gathering will “seize the movement” and “think big” to achieve disarmament targets.