Over the past few years, the focus of discussions related to nuclear weapons has shifted. The international community has begun placing strong emphasis on the humanitarian impact and consequences of the weapons. In 2013, for the first time in history, governments, international organisations and civil society organisations met in Oslo to discuss the catastrophic consequences of the use of nuclear weapons. In the following year, a second conference on the humanitarian impact took place in Nayarit, Mexico, where governments and organisations discussed the long term consequences of a nuclear weapon detonation. A third Conference then took place in Vienna in December 2014, where 158 governments came together and established the Humanitarian Call. This outcome was supported by 117 states, who all together agreed to begin negotiations to ban nuclear weapons.
Civil society members who support the ban of nuclear weapons have joined together to establish the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an international coalition who work together to mobilise people all over the world seeking to pressure governments to initiate and support a process of negotiations to ban nuclear weapons.
The following study was conducted by the Human Security Network in Latin America and the Caribbean (SEHLAC) and is part of this global effort to appeal for Ban of Nuclear Weapons.
This opinion survey was conducted during the months of July and August 2015 to Law, Political Science and International Relations students from the faculty of Social Sciences at the Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the Universidad Federal do Pampa (UNIPAMPA) in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
In order to gather the information, SEHLAC contacted the students via email with an auto administrated survey (Survey Monkey).
The objectives of the study were the following:
- To know whether respondents believed that states possessing nuclear weapons were inclined to use them and whether they thought they should be banned or not.
- The relationship between the real threat of use of nuclear weapons and their prohibition.
The survey was based on two questions:
- Do you think there is a possibility that that states in possession of nuclear weapons could use them? and,
- Do you think that nuclear weapons should be banned?
The results were as follows: for the first question, 77.78% agreed that there was a possibility that possessors could use nuclear weapons, while 22.22% disagreed.
For the second question, 85% of respondents agreed that nuclear weapons should be banned, while the other 15% disagreed.
- Nearly 80% of respondents believe that it is possible that possessors of nuclear weapons could one day use them.
- 22% are not threatened by the use of nuclear weapons.
- 85% of respondents believe that nuclear weapons should be banned.
- Only 15% believe they should not be banned.
We have come to the conclusion that a large majority support the banning of nuclear weapons and therefore this survey makes a contribution to the global trend.