Referring to the arguments made by some that “nuclear weapons are not illegal as per se and that the UN Charter has not excluded the possibility of using nuclear weapons in self – defense”, Sri Lanka said that such “existing lacuna in international law for not explicitly prohibiting nuclear weapons should not be taken as a cover to legitimize nuclear weapons, instead we should take it as a catalyst to work collectively in order to close the gaps and strengthen the international law.”
Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya made these remarks on 11th May 2016 at the second session of the Open – Ended Working Group (OEWG) on Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations, held in Geneva from 2-13 May 2016. She further added that a ‘step –by –step’ approach with an undefined ‘final stage’ tends to lose the momentum, and that any “undue delays in taking proactive actions or having to wait until a minimum threshold point is fulfilled by all nuclear possessing States, compromises the rights of States who are not relying on nuclear weapons for their security, and are being subjected to unfair risk of nuclear weapon detonations, accidental or intentional.”
The OEWG is convened in Geneva this year pursuant to the United Nations General Assembly resolution 70/33, entitled “Taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations”, adopted on 7 December 2015, and the first session of the Group was held from 22-26 February 2016. The Group will meet once again in August 2016, to finalise its report and to agree on recommendations to be submitted to the 71st Session of the UNGA later this year.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
12 May 2016