Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is a historic international agreement among states concerned about the welfare of humanity. The treaty prohibits the possession, development, deployment, use, and threat of use of nuclear weapons. The TPNW also contains a robust framework for assisting victims of nuclear weapons and remediating contaminated environments. It entered into force on January 22, 2021 and the First Meeting of States Parties was held in Vienna, Austria on June 21-23, 2022. Pictured on the left is the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, delivering her remarks at the First Meeting of States Parties.
NAPF has been involved every step of the way – from TPNW conceptualization and negotiations to its entry into force. Today, we work closely with states and other NGOs on strengthening and implementing this treaty. Christian N. Ciobanu, our Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, serves in advisory capacity to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kiribati. Kiribati, a country that understands the dangers from nuclear weapons all too well – having experienced them first-hand during and in the aftermath of nuclear testing conducted by the United Kingdom and the United States – is a co-coordinator of a TPNW working group on Victim Assistance and Environmental Remediation. Read on for more information about this important treaty!
Article 12 of the TPNW states that “Each State Party shall encourage States, not party to this Treaty to sign, ratify, accept, approve or accede to the Treaty, with the goal of universal adherence of all States to the Treaty.” Under this article, States Parties are required to take steps to encourage other States to join the treaty – with the ultimate goal of bringing all state members of the United Nations on board. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation works with States Parties, NGO colleagues, and diplomats to encourage States not yet party to the treaty to sign and accede to the TPNW. We also engage in disarmament educational initiatives in order to raise public consciousness about the TPNW. Raising awareness about the treaty both with the public and through our youth initiatives in particular is critical to our efforts to shift the discourse on nuclear weapons towards one focused on achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.
The TPNW establishes a framework of shared responsibility among States Parties for the effective implementation of its provisions, including the positive obligations. The positive obligations are a set of remedial measures mandated under Articles 6 and 7 that require States Parties to to assist victims and remediate the natural environment affected by the use or testing of nuclear weapons.
These articles are key in achieving the treaty’s humanitarian objectives and should be interpreted in light of other humanitarian disarmament treaties and international humanitarian law, notably the principles of nondiscrimination, inclusivity, accessibility, and transparency.
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is fully committed to advancing the implementation of articles 6 and 7. In collaboration with our colleagues from ICAN, Article 36, and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law, we organize and participate in key meetings on the positive obligations and moderated consultations with civil society.
We also work closely with the TPNW co-facilitators on the positive obligations, Kiribati and Kazakhstan. Christian N. Ciobanu, our policy and advocacy coordinator, serves as the TPNW Advisor for the Permanent Mission of Kiribati. He was also appointed as a friend of the President, Ambassador Alexander Kmentt, on the Positive Obligations at the 1st Meeting of States Parties.
Through our continued relationship with experts and the co-facilitators, we will continue to play a prominent role in the intersessional working group on the positive obligations, co-chaired by Kiribati and Kazakhstan.
Full Text of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Victim Assistance: Article 6, Subsection 1
Each State Party shall, with respect to individuals under its jurisdiction who are affected by the use or testing of nuclear weapons, in accordance with applicable international humanitarian and human rights law, adequately provide age- and gender-sensitive assistance, without discrimination, including medical care, rehabilitation and psychological support, as well as provide for their social and economic inclusion.
Environmental Remediation Article 6, Subsection 2
Each State Party, with respect to areas under its jurisdiction or control contaminated as a result of activities related to the testing or use of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, shall take necessary and appropriate measures towards the environmental remediation of areas so contaminated.
Environmental Remediation Article 7: International Cooperation and Assistance
- Each State Party shall cooperate with other States Parties to facilitate the implementation of this Treaty.
- In fulfilling its obligations under this Treaty, each State Party shall have the right to seek and receive assistance, where feasible, from other States Parties.
- Each State Party in a position to do so shall provide technical, material and financial assistance to States Parties affected by nuclear-weapons use or testing, to further the implementation of this Treaty.
- Each State Party in a position to do so shall provide assistance for the victims of the use or testing of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
- Assistance under this Article may be provided, inter alia, through the United Nations system, international, regional or national organizations or institutions, non-governmental organizations or institutions, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, or national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, or on a bilateral basis.
- Without prejudice to any other duty or obligation that it may have under international law, a State Party that has used or tested nuclear weapons or any other nuclear explosive devices shall have a responsibility to provide adequate assistance to affected States Parties, for the purpose of victim assistance and environmental remediation.
Our TPNW Educational Projects
- Youth Activism for the TPNW.
- Towards Vienna: The Role of Education.
- Youth Program on Nuclear Disarmament.
- Auckland Statement on the TPNW.
- Link to David vs. Goliath article.