Chronology

Hon Phil Goff receiving petitions

Chronology of milestones and significant achievements in humanitarian disarmament 

2017

Oct. 14-15: Sixth Humanitarian Disarmament Forum is convened in New York by HRW, PAX, and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic.

Oct 7: The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) wins the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize“… for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”

Sept. 20: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opens for signature during the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly and 53 states sign within days.

Jul. 7: 122 nations adopt a treaty to categorically ban nuclear weapons and require remedial measures, including victim assistance. The Netherlands is the only state to vote no to adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

2016

Dec. 16: At the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Fifth Review Conference, states agree to establish a Group of Governmental Experts on lethal autonomous weapons systems after three years of informal talks. For the first time, they also decide to discuss concerns relating to incendiary weapons at the 2017 meeting of high contracting parties.

Oct. 15-16: Humanitarian Disarmament Forum is convened by Handicap International, Mines Action Canada, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons at PACE University in New York. The 2016 forum focuses on how our community of campaigners can work for higher standards, achieve faster progress and build strengthen campaigns. It features a keynote address by Andrew Feinstein, a South African writer and filmmaker who has worked to uncover corruption in arms deals. (Agenda).

2015

Oct. 17-18: Oxfam and Save the Children convene the Humanitarian Disarmament Forum at PACE University in New York. The 2015 forum looks at how the humanitarian disarmament community can advocate to help alleviate the human suffering in conflicts that is creating humanitarian emergencies in Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, and elsewhere. It features a keynote address by Osama Damo of Save the Children Canada, who describes his experience growing up and working in Gaza. (Agenda)

Sep. 7-11: At their First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, states parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions adopt a declaration that states: “We condemn any use of cluster munitions by any actor. Such acts run counter to the spirit, aim and letter of the Convention…”

2014

Dec. 24: The Arms Trade Treaty enters into force 90 days after receiving its 50th ratification.

Dec. 8-9: At the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna, Austria more than 100 states endorse a pledge “to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders, States, international organisations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements, parliamentarians and civil society, in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.”

Oct. 18-19: Control Arms and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) convene the Humanitarian Disarmament & Arms Control Campaigns Forum at PACE University in New York. The 2014 forum focuses on the link between gender and arms, considering practical ways to advance a gendered approach to humanitarian disarmament and arms control. It features a keynote address by 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams. (AgendaAction Plan, Background Reading ListVideo)

June: At the Third Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in Maputo, Mozambique, the United States announces its new policy banning US acquisition and production of antipersonnel mines as well as their use outside of the Korean Peninsula.

May 13-16: More than 80 states attend the first informal meeting of the Convention on Conventional Weapons on lethal autonomous weapons systems.

Feb. 13-14: Mexico hosts the second conference on humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons in Nayarit.

2013

Nov. 15: At the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) states adopt a mandate to start discussing questions relating to lethal autonomous weapons systems.

Nov. 14: A dozen nations express concern at the use of incendiary weapons in Syria following a report by Human Rights Watch.

Oct. 19-20: Article 36 and IKV Pax Christi (now PAX) convene the second Humanitarian Disarmament Campaigns Forum at the UN Church Center in New York. The 2013 forum look at how movements for change become stronger and more effective when their different constituent parts work together, support each other and identify part of a wider community. Participants undertake a simulation exercise on humanitarian disarmament in the year 2023, role playing the parts of activists, governments officials, industry representatives, and journalists. (Agenda, simulation exercise, and key issues handout).

Oct. 11: The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons receives the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.”

Sep. 14: Syria accedes to the Convention on Chemical Weapons three weeks after large number of civilians including children die in an attack by Syrian government forces using the nerve agent sarin.

May 29: At Human Rights Council in Geneva two-dozen countries speak for the first time in a multilateral forum on concerns relating to “lethal autonomous robots” as detailed in the first in-depth UN report on the topic, which recommends an immediate moratorium on development.

Jun. 3: The Arms Trade Treaty opens for signature at UN headquarters in New York.

Apr. 23: The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is publicly launched with a series of events in London.

Apr. 2: Five days after states fail to reach consensus, the Arms Trade Treaty is adopted by a UN General Assembly vote of 155 in favor, 3 opposed, and 23 abstentions. It establishes criteria for countries to apply in decisions authorizing the cross-border transfers of arms, including risks that weapons would be used to commit acts of terrorism, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and other offenses.

Mar. 4-5:  A total of 127 states meet in Oslo to discuss the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, marking the beginning of a process to establish a ban treaty

2012

Oct. 20-21: Human Rights Watch convenes a Humanitarian Disarmament Campaigns Summit at the UN Church Center in New York on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which it chairs. The Summit marks the first time that global civil society coalitions working to advance humanitarian disarmament had met to collectively discuss why non-governmental organizations work together to advance humanitarian disarmament. The participating organizations endorse a Summit Communique. The Summit feature a keynote address by then-UN Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions Philip G. Alston, on the threats posed by “killer robots.” A “Ministry for Disarmament” blog and Twitter feed are established for the Summit and managed by Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch. (Agenda and Summary Report).

Oct. 19: Non-governmental organizations meet in New York, where they decide to form the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots to preemptively ban the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons, also known as lethal autonomous weapons systems. The campaign is coordinated by Human Rights Watch (Mary Wareham).

2011

Nov. 26: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies adopt a resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Mar. 29: Non-governmental organizations convene in Geneva and agree to establish the International Network on Explosive Weapons to call for immediate action to prevent human suffering caused by the use of explosive weapons in civilian areas. INEW is coordinated by UK-based NGO Article 36 (Laura Boillot).

2010

Aug. 1: The Convention on Cluster Munitions enters into force six months after receiving its 30th ratification.

2008

Dec. 3-4: Convention on Cluster Munitions opens for signature in Oslo, Norway.

May 30: 107 states adopt the Convention on Cluster Munitions after less than three weeks of negotiations in Dublin

2003

Nov. 13: At events in the Hague in the Netherlands, non-governmental organizations launch the Cluster Munition Coalition. The campaign is coordinated by Thomas Nash until 2012.

1999

Mar. 1: The Mine Ban Treaty enters into force six months after receiving its 40th ratification (Burkina Faso).

1997

Dec. 10: The International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Jody Williams receive the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for starting “a process which in the space of a few years changed a ban on anti-personnel mines from a vision to a feasible reality.”

Dec. 3-4: Mine Ban Treaty opened for signature in Ottawa

Sep. 18: Mine Ban Treaty adopted by 91 states in Oslo

Apr. 29: The Chemical Weapons Convention enters into force 180 days after receiving its 65th ratification.

1995

At the First Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons, states adopt a new CCW protocol preemptively banning blinding laser weapons 

1994

Feb. 24: The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Cornelio Sommaruga, declares that from a “humanitarian point of view” a “world-wide ban on antipersonnel mines is the only truly effective solution.”

1993

Jan. 13: The Chemical Weapons Convention opens for signature in Paris after being submitted by the Conference on Disarmament in September 1992 for approval by the UN General Assembly.

1992

Oct. 6: Six non-governmental organizations meet in New York and agree to form the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Until 1997, the ICBL is coordinated by the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (Jody Williams).