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Friday, 19. July 2024

IPPNW, September 28th, 2017

World’s strongest girl supports nuclear ban

A few weeks ago, during a meeting with the Swedish ambassador in Helsinki, members of Finnish Peace organizations, including Physicians for Social Responsibility, dressed up as Pippi Longstocking to support Sweden's efforts towards a nuclear ban. The choice to dress up as the fictional character was motivated by her long-standing status as an idol for Scandinavian girls, who is known as the "world's strongest girl".

In July 2017, at the United Nations in New York, Sweden voted in favour of the Treaty on the Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), thus standing up to growing pressure from NATO and the US government. Neither Sweden nor Finland are members of the military alliance, nevertheless Finland's conservative government is considered to be pursuing the goal of joining NATO. The country's decision not to take part in the negotiations for the ban treaty is therefore believed to be driven by this aspiration. Finland's President even used the same argument as other NATO member states that the ban treaty could endanger the NPT, during his speech at the UN General Assembly.

Before the ban treaty was adopted, very little attention was given to the negotiations in the Finnish media. After 122 countries voted in favour of the treaty, the main newspaper published a leading editorial arguing why the country should not and is not supporting the treaty. As a response to this, during the following weeks letters supporting the ban treaty were published and widely distributed on social media.

While the upcoming elections in January 2018 are not expected to hold any surprises, and are expected to reconfirm the conservative President currently in power, electoral debates provide a platform to debate the ban treaty. Members of the Green party, Social Democrats as well as the Left Party could promote the issue as part of their campaigns. The Finnish Peace Activists will thus continue their efforts in stimulating an open discussion on the nuclear ban treaty.