For the Second Meeting of States Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Article 36 coordinated the following joint civil society statement, drafted with the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School and the International Disarmament Institute at Pace University.

The statement focuses on progress and recommendations on the treaty’s provisions on victim assistance, environmental remediation and international cooperation and assistance. Article 36 also submitted a working paper to the MSP on this subject.


Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Second Meeting of States Parties

Thematic discussion on victim assistance, environmental remediation and international cooperation and assistance (articles 6 and 7) (item 11d)

Thursday 30 November

Joint statement by 32 civil society organisations

Delivered by Dr Becky Alexis-Martin, University of Bradford (part of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons delegation)

Thank you chair.

I am reading this statement on behalf of 32 civil society organisations.

The humanitarian goals of the TPNW make addressing the ongoing consequences of nuclear weapons through articles 6 and 7 a key task for states parties.

The Vienna Action Plan was a significant achievement, which establishes a collaborative and inclusive framework for implementing these obligations, encompassing principles and practical measures. Through actions 19-32 and 49-50, states parties, and the wider community of stakeholders involved, including individuals from affected communities, have laid strong foundations for work to address nuclear harm and advance progressive humanitarian norms.

Since the first Meeting of States Parties, states have demonstrated their commitment to strengthening the structures for implementation through discussions on national implementation, voluntary reporting, and the possibility of an international trust fund, in the informal working group. We particularly welcome the leadership shown by Kazakhstan and Kiribati, two states affected by nuclear testing, in co-chairing and driving this work forward. Though concerns have been expressed that article 6 could place an undue burden on affected states, we note that so far the TPNW’s affected states parties have taken articles 6 and 7 to be an opportunity:

These obligations establish a framework of shared responsibility amongst those committed to addressing the ongoing impacts of nuclear weapons. While the TPNW provides that any states parties that used or tested nuclear weapons have a responsibility to address harm, it extends duties of care to other states, international organisations and civil society. States or individuals can also still pursue redress, justice, or assistance through other channels, including with states not party. Article 6(3) emphasises that existing arrangements are protected.

We welcome the co-chairs’ efforts to include civil society experts in the deliberations of the working group. They have invited contributions from affected communities, whose rights and knowledge must be centred in implementation. Though more can be done by states and civil society to build inclusive ways of working, particularly in working with Indigenous Peoples and those from Non-Self-Governing Territories in a way that is beneficial to these groups, we appreciate steps taken so far. We would also like to highlight the Affected Communities Statement.

We further welcome states parties’ work to draw attention to articles 6 and 7 and nuclear legacies in other international forums, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Human Rights Council and in the UN General Assembly. In particular, a new draft UNGA resolution on ‘Addressing the legacies of nuclear weapons’, which was tabled by Kazakhstan and Kiribati and notes the TPNW’s articles 6 and 7, was recently passed with a huge majority in First Committee. The success of these efforts reflects the TPNW’s influence over the international conversation. We encourage states parties to engage in similar initiatives, to spread the TPNW’s humanitarian norms, and universalise the treaty itself.

Through the First Committee resolution, other forums and at the TPNW’s first Meeting of States Parties, many states that are not yet party have expressed commitment to addressing nuclear legacies. These states should join the TPNW, which is the only international legal framework that addresses the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. Even before they join, these states should constructively engage with states parties’ work, including through observing the TPNW’s meetings. Many who should be here this week are not.

Whilst we welcome the work done so far, we recognise that this is just the start. Implementing articles 6 and 7, and responding meaningfully to ongoing harm from nuclear weapons through inclusive approaches, will be a long-term task over the decades ahead.

At this second Meeting of States Parties, we recommend that states adopt and use the proposed voluntary reporting guidelines and format. We welcome that some states are already using these tools, and recommend others do so to share information that is crucial to implementation, and develop consistent data. We also urge states to engage in focused discussion to develop the structures and resources needed to establish an effective voluntary international trust fund at the third Meeting of States Parties. We would like to draw attention to the recommendations and research that civil society, including the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic and ICAN, have already contributed on these matters.

We urge states to strengthen their focus on national implementation. We strongly welcome Kazakhstan, Kiribati and New Zealand’s substantial work on assessment and reporting to this conference. Affected states parties should continue their work on assessments and national plans, developing specific requests for assistance. All states parties should, to the extent they can within their resources, develop cooperation and assistance with affected states. States parties must also develop their efforts to centre affected communities and engage stakeholders more broadly, as per the Vienna Action Plan. With international attention growing to nuclear legacies, states parties should ensure that the treaty remains at the centre of building progressive norms and practice in all forums.

Though articles 6 and 7 draw from other humanitarian disarmament treaties, they represent a new approach to nuclear weapons, responding to a broad range of impacts and rights. States parties must undertake focused, inclusive discussion to develop their approaches to implementation. The Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic has developed principles for implementing victim assistance and environmental remediation with the Conflict and Environment Observatory, which we believe provide a strong starting point for work that centres communities and the realisation of victims’ rights.

Thank you.


Endorsing organisations:

Alianza por el Desarme Nuclear, Spain

Article 36


Conflict and Environment Observatory

Environmentalists Against War

Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (HANWA)

ICAN Aotearoa New Zealand

ICAN Australia

ICAN France

International Center for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of MultiGenerational Legacies of Trauma (ICMGLT)

International Disarmament Institute, Pace University

International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School


LABRATS International

Medact Nuclear Weapons Group, UK

Medact Scotland

Mines Action Canada

Norwegian Physicians against Nuclear Weapons


Peace and International Development, University of Bradford, UK

Peace Boat

Peace Movement Aotearoa

Rete Italiana Pace Disarmo



Soka Gakkai International

Swedish Physicians against Nuclear Weapons

The Bolivian Women‘s Efforts

The Nuclear Truth Project

United Nations Association – UK

Vision GRAM- International

World BEYOND War

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