Statement underlines humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons

New Zealand delivered a joint statement signed by 124 countries to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that said "the very survival of humanity depends on nuclear weapons never being used."

The statement was organized under the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a coalition of more than 80 countries that intends to give voice to the threats posed by nuclear weapons.

"The humanitarian focus on nuclear weapons has again proven to be successful," ICAN Member Beatrice Fihn said. "A growing number of states are showing concern about the unacceptable harm that these weapons of mass destruction threaten to unleash. This debate strengthens our confidence and resolve that there is a credible way forward towards the prohibition of nuclear weapons."

A nuclear weapon detonation in an urbanized area would cause hundreds of thousands deaths and casualties. In addition, it would impact climate change and could prohibit crop production and cause famine.

"The 124 governments that have co-sponsored this important statement on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons are putting the security of their people above the militarist justifications for some states to have nuclear weapons," ICAN Co-Chair Rebecca Johnson said. "Diplomatic action to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons will be the best way to prevent a nuclear catastrophe