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Government urged to sign Austrian Pledge on nuclear weapons

May 13, 2015 By Alusine Sesay

As part of their observance of the Week of Action against small arms, the Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA) has called on the government of Sierra Leone to sign the Austrian Pledge committed to filling the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

Director of SLANSA, Mrs. Florella Hazely, said her organization was committed to the fight against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons across the country and that they had succeeded in lobbying the government to enact the Arms and Ammunition Act of 2012.

She said the organization was committed to enhancing human security through advocacy against the proliferation of small arms, and that SLANSA would continue to lobby the government to sign the Austrian Pledge on the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

The third international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, held in Vienna on 9 December 2014, gave birth to the Austrian Pledge, which has been signed by 84 countries across the world.

Having highlighted the dangers posed by nuclear weapons on human existence, the Pledge calls on state parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to renew their commitment to the urgent and full implementation of existing obligations under Article VI, as well as identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of the substance.

It also reiterates the crucial role that international organizations, relevant UN entities, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, elected representatives, academia and civil society play in advancing the shared objective of a nuclear free world.

It also emphasizes that the scope of consequences of a nuclear weapon explosion and the risk associated with it concern the security of all humanity, and that all states share the responsibility to prevent any use of nuclear weapon.

The Austrian Pledge further notes that the risk of nuclear weapons, with their unacceptable consequences, can only be avoided when eliminated, and emphasizes that the scope of consequences of any explosion and risk associated raise profound moral and ethical questions.

The Pledge establishes that the immediate, mid- and long-term consequences of a nuclear weapon explosion are graver, as was understood in the past, and will not be constrained by national borders but have regional or even global effects potentially threatening the survival of humanity.

It recognizes the complexity of interrelationship between the consequences on health, environment, infrastructure, food security, climate, development, social cohesion and the global economy.

Austria, however, pledged to follow the imperative of human security for all and promote the protection of civilians risk stemming from nuclear weapons.

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