Marianne Hanson
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The humanitarian context
Drawing lessons from earlier disarmament campaigns
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This chapter introduces the practice of ‘humanitarian arms control’, and shows how this was applied to the cases of landmines in 1997 and cluster munitions in 2008. It argues that even as the nuclear states continued to hold fast to nuclearism, a process of ‘humanitarian disarmament’ was evolving. There were some notable aspects of these disarmament processes which would, in time, come to have an important bearing on the way in which non-nuclear states sought to achieve the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The experience of the landmines ban especially, together with fifteen years of reflection on the success of that process and its role in re-affirming the place of international humanitarian law in weapons control, provided states and civil society actors with useful experience and an important background against which the matter of nuclear weapons would henceforth be framed. The chapter argues that the utilization of humanitarian arguments and novel processes of diplomacy used to prohibit landmines (and later, cluster munitions) showed that there would be some value in applying similar arguments to nuclear weapons also, as a way of pushing for disarmament. These novel processes included the presence of new initiators, and new participants, especially non-state actors drawn from the humanitarian field, the creation of new diplomatic venues, the bypassing of the great powers, the choice to work on a single, clear goal of complete prohibition, staying with a solely humanitarian framework, and employing new methods for reaching agreement.

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Challenging nuclearism

A humanitarian approach to reshape the global nuclear order


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