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Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Policy Brief  No.104 - February, 2021

The Humanitarian Initiative and the TPNW

At the 2010 NPT Review Conference State parties agreed by consensus to express their “deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons". In the following years, non-nuclear-weapon states and civil society representatives focused increasingly on the humanitarian impact and the risks associated with nuclear weapons in what became known as the Humanitarian Initiative. The latest iteration of the initiative’s joint statement in 2015 has been subscribed to by 159 States. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) builds on the Humanitarian Initiative. This policy brief outlines the rationale of the Humanitarian Initiative which underpins the TPNW and responds to the counternarratives and critiques against the TPNW presented by nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-umbrella states.