Almost seventy-seven years ago, two nuclear bombs were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, killing nearly 210,000 people within months and causing tens of thousand and chronic diseases, and massive humanitarian disasters.
Nuclear weapon remain one of the most serious threats facing humanity and the dangers are increasing as there are over 14,000 nuclear warheads nowadays, most of which are many times more powerful than those two bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The dreams of the international community for a world free of nuclear weapons has come a step closer with the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) that Malaysia ratified on 30 September 2020 and that entered into force on 20 January 2021. However, ratification and entry into force are only the beginning. TPNW requires implementation at the domestic level while awareness on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons should continue to be increased. To this end, academic and youth play an integral role as they represent the best and brightest minds in the country.
Recognising the above, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) come together to jointly organise the Conference on the Nuclear Ban Treaty (TPNW): National Implementation and the Role of Youth.
After leading the reshaping of the nuclear disarmament debate to focus on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons and the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), Malaysia became the 46th State to ratify the TPNW on 30 September 2020. The first 50 ratifications eventually led to the TPNW’s entry into force on 21 January 2021.
While ratification is a significant step towards a nuclear-weapons-free world, it is only the beginning towards disarmament and complete prohibition of nuclear weapons. It is also the first step towards national implementation of the TPNW’s provisions for all the state parties, which at present stand at 61. The treaty requires its State parties to take legal, policy and administrative measures to implement the TPNW so that its principles are enforceable and understood at the domestic level. General awareness on the TPNW framework and its objectives is also key, especially as the threat of use of nuclear weapons becomes more explicit; the risk of mishaps, malfunction and misunderstanding higher, compounded further by the threat and misuse of digital technologies.
The humanitarian impact of the use of nuclear weapons upon on civilian populations and civilian infrastructure including on the natural environment are simply catastrophic, and no one is ready for what it could entail. The first use of nuclear weapons in 1945 saw around 200,000 people killed instantly, while 270 out of 300 doctors and 1,650 of 1,780 nurses were either killed or injured when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima. A total area of 13 square kilometers in Hiroshima was immediately destroyed from the blast, heat and fire of the impact. Japan Red Cross hospitals are still treating the survivors to this day in 2022, 77 years later. Even while the first use of nuclear weapons illustrated a most bleak of pictures, it must be noted that there are now over 14,000 nuclear bombs, far more powerful than those used in Hiroshima. If 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs were to be dropped at the same location today, the global temperature drop of 1.3 degrees for several years it causes would severely affect the food security of more than one billion of the world’s population. That is to not even being able to imagine the scope of death and destruction of such an incident, both immediate and the long-term effects it would cause.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance that State parties begin integrating the treaty’s provisions into domestic law. For Malaysia, that process has already begun. However, what are remaining concerns and challenges in the process? How could academic circles, especially of non-scientific disciplines, could still contribute? As the TPNW requires multi-stakeholder cooperation for assistance to populations and environment impacted by nuclear weapons testing and use, how can humanitarian actors support this process?
Additionally, and just as importantly, no one is safe unless everyone is safe. Following the TPNW State Parties’ first meeting in June 2022, what actions can State parties adopt to influence other States to join the treaty? Are there international and/or regional fora that can be mobilized to that effect?
This conference is focused but not limited to the following sub-themes:-
1. The catastrophic consequence of nuclear weapons for future generations.
2. Raising awareness among the youth of the dangers of nuclear weapons in
the educational institutions.
3. The role of youth leaders and students’ organizations as pressure groups in
4. Youth initiatives to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
5. The role of youth and NGOs in advocating for a world free of nuclear.
The objectives of the Conference are as follows:-
1. To contribute toa world free of nuclear weapons.
2. To raise awareness of the catastrophic humanitarian consequence and
dangers of nuclear weapons.
3. To discuss issues and share perceptions of youths on their roles in ridding
the world of nuclear weapons.
4. To highlights the role of youth NGOs in advocating for a world free of
5. To strengthen cooperation among the International Islamic University
Malaysia (IIUM), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and
the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) in addressing humanitarian
legal issues at the national and international levels.
The following are the organisations that have participated in TPNW:
- International Islamic University
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
- Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS)
Click here for the further information on the conference programme.