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ōtautahi / Christchurch celebrates the Nuclear Ban Treaty - Blog, footage and Photos

February 15, 2021

Congratulations everyone, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has now entered into force! We are still totally buzzing that the TPNW, also known as the Nuclear Ban Treaty, is now a reality and has become international law. It is not often we get to celebrate such a big win in the disarmament field, so for us at the DSC, we were unashamedly fizzing at the opportunity to join this global anti-nuclear party! The 22nd January 2021 was such an exciting and memorable day which we will never forget, and we saw some incredible events across Aotearoa and the world.

DSC Coordinator Lucy Stewart

Here in Ōtautahi/Christchurch, locals gathered at the New Brighton Pier on a stunning Canterbury morning to hear from speakers including City Councillor James Daniels, DSC Coordinator Lucy Stewart, Co-founder Dr Kate Dewes, Researcher Marcus Coll, and DSC council member Angela Woodward. The weather was amazing, there was a great turn out, and we had a wonderful mix of young and old, students and academics, long-time supporters and campaigners, and even some proudly anti-nuclear dogs! Check out our video footage of the day at the top of the page!

The event also received quite a bit of media coverage too (which is actually pretty hard to get on issues such as this!) so we were very grateful. You can check out a couple of these articles here on Stuff and the New Zealand Herald. The DSC team also got interviewed for Newstalk ZB.

After the New Brighton event, DSC Coordinator Lucy Stewart travelled to Auckland for the New Zealand Government event at the University of Auckland Law School, which was co-hosted by Dr Treasa Dunworth, Dr Anna Hood, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This was a really great event with a full house and an address by the new Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, the honourable Phil Twyford. You can watch the full address here

ICAN Aotearoa New Zealand also put on an excellent event in Wellington, which was both in-person and online. You can view the photos here.  

And for anyone who missed the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Geneva studio event from the day, you can watch it here, with the opening featuring our very own Angela Woodward! This was an excellent show featuring many leading disarmament professionals, academics, activists and others giving a good overview of the TPNW.

The events of January 22, 2021 stretched far and wide across the globe, despite a global pandemic raging. The entry into force of the TPNW sets a remarkable benchmark for countries, particularly those under the nuclear umbrella, to breakout and unreservedly commit themselves to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects. This builds on the historic 1996 International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the legality of nuclear weapons, which had its beginnings in Ōtautahi/Christchurch.

The treaty itself was made possible through the tireless work of anti-nuclear campaigners and supporters over the years who have strived to rid the world of the most destructive weapon in existence. As more countries begin to sign and ratify the TPNW, pressure will continue to mount on nuclear armed and nuclear umbrella states, as well as financial institutions and commercial enterprises to withdraw and divest their interests from the nuclear weapons industry. There’s a lot of work still to be done, and the TPNW is by no means a panacea, but for this historic milestone, we revel in the celebrations!

January 22, 2021 will go down in history as the day that a group of mainly small, but fearlessly anti-nuclear countries, finally said to the world ‘Enough is Enough'. Now, watch this space!

by Marcus Coll
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