As a result of the visit to Spain by Setsuko Thurlow, survivor of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, an event took place in the Spanish Congress of Deptuties on the 26th of February to talk about Spain’s position regarding the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

Video of the event recorded and edited by Álvaro Orús

The event was chaired by Roser Maestro Moliner, member of congress for Unidas Podemos and president of her party’s International Cooperation for Development Committee, and was attended by members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2017), elected deputies from several parliamentary groups, representatives of different organisations and members of the public interested in the issue.

Setsuko drew attention to the survivors’ commitment to bear witness to what happened in Hiroshima so that it may never happen again. She spoke about how inhuman nuclear weapons are and the need for both individuals and politicians to take a stand. She reminded the gathering that everyone has a responsibility to do something.

Carlos Umaña, ICAN committee member for Latin America, spoke about Spain’s position and the importance of signing the TPNW as a member of NATO and the lack of legal arguments to prevent such an act from happening (on the contrary, the Spain’s legal code has two articles that prohibit the use of weapons of mass destruction). In fact, NATO is pressuring Spain to not take a clear stand on nuclear disarmament. Despite this, Umaña expressed optimism having found great receptiveness among Spanish authorities, such as the city of Barcelona which recently supported the ICAN cities appeal.

These interventions were followed by a dialogue with the audience in which deputies from different political groupings participated such as Txema Guijarro (Unidas Podemos), Esther Padilla (PSOE) and Mariona Illamola (Junts per Catalunya), who committed themselves to publically support the TPNW within their blocs in order to advance Spain’s signature.

Further interventions came from Mario Isea Bohérquez, Venezuelan ambassador to Spain, and Pedro Arrojo, deputy in the previous congress, who was the catalyst for this gathering and who proposed the creation of a parliamentary group open to deputies of every party who want to continue advancing the proposal until Spain signs and ratifies the treaty. Arrojo said, “In Hiroshima, it wasn’t people from the left or the right who died, from one religion or another. It was an attack on the whole world…”

Spain already prohibits the production and use of nuclear weapons, as outlined in Spain’s legal code which was agreed in 1986 when Spain entered NATO.

It was also recalled during the event that no treaty to ban a class of weapons was ever initially signed by the largest military powers. Instead the weapons were banned by the international community and delegitimised, leading to their stigmatisation and subsequent erradication. The TPNW delegitimises countries that have nuclear weapons and makes those countries take responsibility for their action or inaction.