Areas of Work

Disarmament and Arms Control

Over its history QUNO has focused much of its peace-related effort on fostering disarmament negotiations at the UN, for example on chemical and nuclear weapons, as well as conventional weapons such as landmines and small arms & light weapons.

We work to raise awareness of their tremendous damage to communities and societies towards building more effective ways to tackle these challenges at international level – by also bridging the gaps between policy makers, industry actors and civil society.

Recent Timeline Events

October 2019

How the Human Rights pillar is contributing to Arms Control

QUNO recently co-organized a discussion on “How the Human Rights pillar is contributing to Arms Control” as part of the New Shapes: Weapons Governance conference in October, in collaboration with the Women's League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Amnesty International, and the Permanent Mission of Peru to the United Nations. While the implementation of many arms control and disarmament frameworks, agreements and treaties is being undermined by politicization and commercial interests – UN human rights bodies are increasingly exploring their role in these spheres and reminding governments of their human rights obligations in relation to arms transfers. Indeed, action  taken in recent years by UN human rights bodies continues to add an extra layer of accountability, complementing the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and reinforcing the notion that human rights must come ahead of profits from the arms trade.

The speakers explored how the Human Rights Council’s resolutions on the ‘Impact of arms transfers on human rights’ have evolved over the years, including by bringing a focus to the link between arms transfers and armed conflicts, to the gendered impacts of transfers, and to diversion, amongst other areas. Discussants also highlighted how human rights mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) or the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) are having real world impact to curb human rights violations from arms transfers. There was a particular interest in the State’s leverage to ensure companies meet standards set out in UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – with many suggesting that States should mandate human rights due diligence, making it an obligatory requirement in the overall licensing process.

For more please read our event report, available below.

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November 2018

Nuclear Disarmament or Nuclear Arms Race: The World at Crossroads

The Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) organised a panel discussion on “Nuclear Disarmament or Nuclear Arms Race: The World at Crossroads” during the Geneva Peace Week featuring:

  • Marc FINAUD, Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Peter HERBY, head of “Petersburg Partnerships”
  • Susanne HAMMER, disarmament expert at the Permanent Mission of Austria to United Nations in Geneva.
  • Aidan LIDDLE, UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

The panel discussed the emerging landscape in nuclear multilateral non-proliferation and disarmament agreements and regimes, threatened by growing divisions and challenges while global geo-political events have given these developments a sense of urgency.

Looking ahead, the panellists also looked at how to enhance the tentative policy level pushes towards, hopefully, more productive discussions towards nuclear disarmament through the adoption of Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in 2017, the Conference on Disarmament initiating more substantive work within five thematic subsidiary bodies earlier this year, and last but not least, the UN Secretary General’s new Agenda on Disarmament published in May 2018.

The full article is available below. 


QUNO Geneva through its Peace and Disarmament Programme continues to explore how mutual trust and cooperative dialogue can uphold the multilateral system to address nuclear disarmament. Alongside this work, the Programme is building bridging initiatives between human rights, disarmament and private sectors in order to better leverage opportunities in respective areas of work towards the common aim of a more peaceful world. 

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January 2016

VIDEO: Diane Hendrick talks about our Peace & Disarmament programme

In this video, excerpted from a longer film shown at the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) World Plenary Meeting held in Peru in January 2016, Diane Hendrick explains the work of our Peace & Disarmament programme. 

The Peace and Disarmament programme grows out of a long Quaker history of working for peace, understanding that this means more than the absence of overt violence and has fundamentally to do with social and economic justice and political participation. Where these are denied, the roots of violence can be found. 

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