AMPLIFYING YOUTH VOICES AND OUR CALL FOR DISARMAMENT EDUCATION

Amplify Youth Network with Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez, President of the United Nations Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination

Sixteen youth from 13 countries gathered for the Amplify Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition that took place from 17–21 June. Amplify is a global network of young people working for nuclear abolition. We believe that the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination offers an opportunity for the international community to finally say that nuclear weapons are unacceptable. These weapons do not belong in our society now and they have no place in our future.

For these reasons, Amplify organized the Youth Summit in New York on the margins of the negotiating conference. Throughout the Summit our delegates were involved in a wide range of activities, which allowed us to provide a youthful perspective to the negotiations. Highlights of our five-day summit included co-organizing sign-making and pizza party along with the youth of Peace Action New York State and Gensuikyo; participating in the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb through the rain storm; meeting the Hibakusha; and hosting a Youth Reception for Nuclear Abolition supported by 10 co-sponsor organizations. We also had briefing meetings with the President of the Conference Ambassador Elaine Whyte Gomez, Austria, Ireland, Under-Secretary-General of Disarmament Affairs, and ICAN.

Our various discussions and briefings confirmed that youth participation in disarmament discussions is critical in ensuring that such discussions reflect the voices of younger generations, which are a key stakeholder for a world without nuclear weapons. It also ensures that important multilateral decisions such as the current ban treaty negotiations reach the wider youth and general public. In this sense, youth participation is not only our right; it is our contribution. In relation to participation, as a youth network, Amplify places a high importance on disarmament education and risk education. All states parties to the future treaty should have an obligation to support disarmament education globally. If nuclear disarmament is to be sustainable, people everywhere must be aware of the issues.

Moreover, quality disarmament education can help foster action for complete disarmament. We regret that the most recent revised preamble text does not include reference to disarmament education and we will continue to voice our support for this important element.

We also see the potential for security based on diplomacy and cooperation, not fear and intimidation; the current negotiations are thus an opportunity for us to rethink our assumptions about power dynamics and security in the international community, rather than accepting the current “reality.”

Amplify’s views on the key issues including those discussed above are further expanded in our working paper A/CONF.229/2017/NGO/WP.43, Youth Perspective on “The draft Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”. While the Youth Summit has concluded, we will continue to monitor the discussions and speak out for the interests of our generation.

 

Originally published in: Reaching Critical Will, Nuclear Ban Daily (23 June 2017, Vol. 2, No. 7): http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/reports/NBD2.7.pdf

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