Practice Relating to Nuclear Weapons
In 1996, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Uruguay stated:
The process of denuclearization must be pursued further. The beginning of the review process of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), scheduled for 1997, should, inter alia
, give fresh impetus to our work to reduce nuclear arsenals. The renewed efforts to bring about a nuclear-free world by means of a decisive reduction in the arsenals of nuclear-weapon States should not be limited to the successes we have already seen, such as the CTBT and the indefinite extension of the NPT. Completion of the preparatory work for the Review Conference of the NPT, to be held in the year 2000, should be given our enthusiastic support.
In 2010, in a statement during the general debate of the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay stated:
We have decidedly furthered all measures aimed at the elimination of nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction. …
In its capacity as а member country of the  Tlatelolco Treaty [for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean] that has established Latin America and the [C]aribbean as the first nuclear weapon free zone in а densely populated area of the world, Uruguay has contributed to strengthening both the regional Tlatelolco Regime and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty [1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons], which is considered to be the cornerstone of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime. We underscore, once again, the importance of its prompt global application.
Likewise, and without prejudice to the reaffirmation of our aspiration to а Convention for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, we believe that the entry into force of the treaty for the total nuclear test ban and а treaty for the prohibition of the production of fissionable material during the present year, constitute decisive steps in the consolidation and deepening of the advances made in the area of disarmament. We must not stop, because to stop is to go backwards, and to go backwards is to expose humanity to the horrendous and inacceptable risk of nuclear holocaust.
Uruguay’s wish is that in 2012 а conference could be held in which all the states of the middle east participate, with the goal of establishing а zone free of nuclear weapons and of all other weapons of mass destruction, through freely agreed arrangements between the states of the region, with the full support and commitment of those states that possess nuclear weapons.
Similarly, Uruguay supports the United Nations Secretary General’s five points initiative [on nuclear disarmament] for а world free of nuclear weapons.
In 2011, in a statement during the general debate of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly, the Vice-President of Uruguay stated:
Our commitment to international peace and security has also driven our country to play an active role in the field of disarmament.
Together with many other countries, Uruguay has firmly promoted all those initiatives aimed at eliminating nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction …
As a member of the  Tlatelolco Treaty [for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean], by virtue of which Latin America and the Caribbean became the first area free from nuclear weapons, Uruguay has decisively contributed to strengthening both the regional regime and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons], considered to be the corner stone of disarmament and non proliferation. Uruguay has adhered fully to the five items [relating to nuclear disarmament] mentioned by the United Nations Secretary General. We believe the international community must make the most of this cumulative progress to advance firmly toward a world free from nuclear weapons.
In 2012, in a statement during the general debate of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay stated: “Uruguay hopes that the international community can take effective steps towards the elimination of nuclear weapons and compromises its effort to dispel this terrible threaten that hangs over the humanity.”
In 2012, in a statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly on the humanitarian dimension of nuclear disarmament, made on behalf of a number of countries, including Uruguay, the ambassador of Switzerland stated:
The sheer horror of the use of nuclear weapons informed the very first resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1946 and was later reflected in key multilateral documents. The NPT [1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons] Preamble refers to the “devastation that would be visited upon all mankind by a nuclear war and the consequent need to make every effort to avert the danger of such a war and to take measures to safeguard the security of peoples”. The First Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament (SSOD-1) stressed in 1978 that nuclear weapons pose the greatest danger to mankind and to the survival of civilization. Several decades after their adoption, these expressions of concern are as pertinent as ever and will remain so for as long as nuclear weapons remain.
If such weapons were to be used, be it intentionally or accidentally, immense humanitarian consequences would be unavoidable. As the ICRC has already concluded, international organisations providing emergency relief would be unable to fulfill their mandates. In addition to the immediate fatalities, survivors of the horrendous effects of a nuclear explosion would endure immeasurable suffering. Studies have shown that the radiation released by even a single nuclear weapon would affect populations, agriculture and natural resources over a very wide area and also constitute a very real threat for future generations. Further studies conclude that even a “limited nuclear exchange” – in itself a contradiction in terms – would cause a global climate change with such a serious and long-lasting impact on the environment and food production that it could cause a global famine affecting over a billion people.
The grave humanitarian concerns resulting from the unique destructive capacity and uncontrollable effects in space and time of nuclear weapons also raise important legal issues. All rules of international humanitarian law apply fully to nuclear weapons, notably the rules of distinction, proportionality and precaution, as well as the prohibition on causing superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering and the prohibition against causing widespread, severe and long-term damage to the environment. In November last year, the Council of Delegates of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement adopted a Resolution emphasizing not only the incalculable human suffering resulting from any use of nuclear weapons but also stressing that it is difficult to envisage how any use of nuclear weapons could be compatible with the rules of international humanitarian law.
It is of utmost importance that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances. The only way to guarantee this is the total, irreversible and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons, under effective international control, including through the full implementation of Article VI of the NPT. All States must intensify their efforts to outlaw nuclear weapons and achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. Civil society plays a crucial role in raising the awareness about the devastating humanitarian consequences as well as the critical IHL implications of nuclear weapons.
The catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons concern the community of States as a whole. Accordingly, the United Nations General Assembly has a particularly important role in addressing this matter in a comprehensive fashion.
[emphasis in original]
In 2013, in a statement during the Third Special Session of the Conference of States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (Third Review Conference), the representative of Uruguay stated:
Uruguay, in participating in this Conference, cannot ignore the legacy of Latin America and the Caribbean, which region was a forerunner in the context of disarmament initiatives at the level of weapons of mass destruction. It is worth recalling at this point that the Tlatelolco Treaty [for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean] of 1967 demarcated the first nuclear weapons-free zone in a densely populated area, acting as inspiration for the establishment of other mechanisms.