|Dear friends and colleagues,
On October 24, 2018, the UN Human Rights Committee adopted General Comment 36 on the Right to Life, affirming, amongst other things, that the threat or use of nuclear weapons ‘is incompatible with respect for the Right to Life and may amount to a crime under international law.’
General Comment 36 also held that States Parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) have an obligation to end the production of weapons of mass destruction, destroy existing stockpiles and provide adequate reparation to victims of their testing or use.
The significance of this development is that it:
- applies directly to the nuclear-armed States all of whom are States Parties of the ICCPR (except China which has signed but not yet ratified the Covenant);
- clearly and comprehensively affirms the illegality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons;
- applies personal responsibility (criminality) to nuclear weapons policies;
- applies human rights law and engages human rights constituencies.