UCSIA
Prinsstraat 14
B-2000 Antwerpen
marijke.celis@ua.ac.be
Belgium Tel. +32 (0)3 265 49 60
Fax +32 (0)3 707 09 31
Non-Nuclear Peace

Introduction

On May 23rd – 25th 2017, UCSIA organizes an academic workshop on non-nuclear peace at the University of Antwerp.

UCSIA is organising a series of three workshops to examine the problem of peace in light of contemporary global political and cultural conditions. What meaning does peace have today and what practices and institutions are taken to embody it? Does global public opinion value peace or does it favor the comfort of security?

A first workshop will analyze the vitality and viability of the current state of pacifism. This second workshop will focus on the future of the role of nuclear weapons in world politics. Nuclear weapons are often perceived as stabilizing instruments in international politics, especially in the nine possessor states as well as their non-nuclear allies. The most important criticism vis-à-vis nuclear weapons is probably that the use of nuclear weapons would be contrary to the major principles of international humanitarian law (discrimination, proportionality,…). Because of their destructive capacity, their use is generally (except by the nuclear armed states) regarded as illegitimate. Due to the so-called Humanitarian Initiative of 123 states and many NGO's, UN multilateral negotiations have been started up and concluded in 2017 to ban nuclear weapons. The nuclear armed states and their allies, however, are still not convinced of the usefulness of a Ban Treaty despite their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. They refer to the humanitarian and security aspects related to nuclear weapons. The advocates of the Humanitarian Initiative and the Ban Treaty respond that nuclear weapons provide more insecurity than security. The effects of the use of nuclear weapons - let alone a nuclear war - will likely be felt beyond the borders of a single state.