As two students involved in the SCRAP project, we had the opportunity to attend the ICAN Civil Society Forum in Vienna on the 6th and 7th of December. This event brought together a variety of campaigners, activists, experts, civil society groups and NGOs with the aim of discussing the need for a nuclear weapons ban, prior to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons on the 8th and 9th of December.
We thoroughly enjoyed attending this international event, where we learnt more about campaigning and had the opportunity to liaise with experts, NGOs, and government officials from a variety of countries. Despite having encountered some unexpected resistance from some civil society groups, we were positively impressed with how well diplomats received our message when we presented them the holistic approach to disarmament proposed by SCRAP.
It was extremely interesting to discuss the issue of disarmament with experts in the field, as well as with other students and activists. We felt particularly privileged to meet Hiroshima survivor, Setsuko Thurlow, who delivered a powerful account of what she went through on that tragic day and how she has used her experience to advocate for a ban of nuclear weapons.
We look forward to further discussing general and complete disarmament with some of the activists and diplomats that we met in Vienna at the United Nations in Geneva this February.
Carolina Sarmento and Marta Corti (MA Candidates, International Studies & Diplomacy, CISD, SOAS, University of London)