Dr Patricia Lewis: Deputy Director, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, California, USA.
Summary: Few issues are more appropriate subjects of humanitarian concern and international humanitarian law than the choice, possession, use and misuse of weapons. A body of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Disarmament Treaty Law has been built up over the last century to control and prohibit a range of weapons and weapons use. IHL and the social norms and values on which it is based, are the tools by which humanity has protected itself from misuse of its technical capacities for destruction and demonstrated its capacity for wisdom. Recent successes in disarmament through the merging of international humanitarian law and disarmament treaty law could be built upon to push for a radical, practical approach to nuclear disarmament, putting people and human frailty at the centre of the debate and being focused on achieving a safer world, free from nuclear weapons.