For Immediate Release
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TREATY ON THE PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS WILL ENTER INTO FORCE SOON
Historic step makes the world a safer and more secure place in which to live.
New York– On October 24, 2020, Honduras became the 50th country to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). With this 50th ratification, the treaty will enter into force on January 22, 2021, at which time it will become illegal to possess, use, and threaten to use nuclear weapons.
Jaimaica and Nauru have also recently ratified the treaty. A complete list of countries that have signed and/or ratified the treaty can be found at https://www.icanw.org/signature_and_ratification_status.
The TPNW opened for signature on September 20, 2017 at the UN headquarters in New York. Article One of the treaty prohibits states parties from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.
The treaty is a major advance toward creating a safer and more secure world. Rick Wayman, CEO of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), a Santa Barbara-based non-profit that works for the abolition of nuclear weapons, played a key role in the initial negotiations leading up to the nuclear ban treaty in 2017. Wayman was thrilled at the ratification, saying, “Today the world has moved a big step forward to finally eliminating the long-standing existential threat posed by nuclear weapons.”
While the United States chose to boycott the negotiations in 2017 and has refused to sign the treaty, the treaty still has the potential to significantly impact U.S. behavior regarding nuclear weapons issues. Previous weapon prohibition treaties, including the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, have demonstrated that changing international norms leads to concrete changes in policies and behaviors, even in countries not party to the treaty.
Wayman went on to say, “International law and legal norms are vital to changing nations’ behavior. The upcoming entry-into-force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons makes it clear that nuclear weapons are illegal.”
This effort to ban nuclear weapons has been led by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which is made up of over 500 non-governmental organizations from 103 countries. NAPF has been a Partner Organization of ICAN since the campaign began in 2007. ICAN received the 2017 Nobel Peace for their efforts to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and their ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.
The treaty expresses in its preamble deep concern “about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons.” It further recognizes “the consequent need to completely eliminate such weapons, which remains the only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons are never used again under any circumstances.”
Another important aspect of the TPNW is that it creates obligations to support the victims of nuclear weapons use and testing and to remediate the environmental damage caused by nuclear weapons. Wayman further commented, “The upcoming entry-into-force of the TPNW marks a huge milestone in using the law to end nuclear weapons. At NAPF, we are educating and training people of all ages to address the tangles of trauma that fuel and sustain the desire for nuclear weapons in the first place. The root causes of nuclear weapons are in many cases the same root causes that lead to wars, mass shootings, racism, and many other serious issues.”
The treaty is a clear indication that the majority of the world’s countries no longer accept nuclear weapons and do not consider them legitimate. It demonstrates that the indiscriminate mass killing of civilians is unacceptable and that it is not possible to use nuclear weapons consistent with the laws of war.
The treaty can be read in its entirety at http://undocs.org/A/CONF.229/2017/8
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The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is committed to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Its mission is to educate and train people of all ages and backgrounds to solve the most dangerous technological, social, and psychological issues of our time, and to survive and thrive in the 21st century. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with consultative status to the United Nations. For more information, visit wagingpeace.org and peaceliteracy.org.