ChildFund Australia is one of 90 organisations calling for Australia to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as part of the International Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
The organisations have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, warning of the threat nuclear weapons pose and urging the government to take action.
“This is a child protection issue as well as a human rights issue,” Mr Spence said. “Nuclear weapons have the potential to devastate lives – not only during conflict but for decades after, and harm children and communities indiscriminately.
“It is important that we take every possible step to achieve an effective ban on nuclear weapons to protect children now and in the future.”
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at United Nations headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017 and will remain open indefinitely.
It prohibits a range of activities, including undertaking to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of these weapons. Once 50 nations have ratified or acceded to it, it will enter into force.
The open letter to the Prime Minister is signed by health, union, student, Indigenous, humanitarian, environment and faith organisations from across Australia. It highlights the urgency of disarmament amidst current heightened risks of nuclear conflict.
“The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons provides the necessary vehicle for nations to walk away from these unacceptable, and now illegal, weapons,” ICAN founder Tilman Ruff said.
“Australia has signed the treaties banning chemical and biological weapons, landmines and cluster munitions. It’s time to take genuine action against these weapons by signing and ratifying the ban treaty.”
The International Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was founded in Australia in 2007 and was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2017.
Click here to read the open letter to the Prime Minister.