London, 24 October 2020:
The United Nations has confirmed that the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has been ratified by its 50th state party, Honduras, and will therefore enter into international legal force 90 days later, on 22 January.
“This Treaty bans nuclear weapons production, testing, possession and use, along with other activities that could enable and assist anyone to acquire or use these weapons of mass destruction ever again,“ said Dr Rebecca Johnson, a former Greenham peace activist and first president of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN, 2017 Nobel Peace Laureate). “This treaty is the culmination of 75 years of humanitarian activism, from the “Hibakusha” and indigenous survivors of nuclear weapons and testing, to the Aldermaston marchers and Greenham Common Peace Women who helped to ban nuclear testing and get cruise missiles banned and off the roads. Together we’ve persuaded UN governments to bring this ground-breaking nuclear disarmament treaty into international humanitarian law. We’ve got a lot more to do now to make it work.“
Ben Donaldson, from United Nations Association UK (UNA-UK), expressed pride that the TPNW reached its 50th ratification on UN Day, 75 years on from the founding of the United Nations, and recognised that nuclear weapons were first used against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years ago in August 1945.
Noting that this UN-negotiated multilateral treaty was recently described by UN Secretary-General António Guterres as an important pillar to strengthen nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, Mr Donaldson said, “The ground is moving under the UK’s feet. We now have this significant new UN treaty which will sit alongside the other major global treaty on nuclear weapons, the Non Proliferation Treaty, and drive forward the international community’s shared vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.”
As well as banning the activities and practices that make nuclear acquisition, proliferation and use possible, the TPNW provides two legal pathways by which nations holding nuclear weapons, like the UK, can eliminate their arsenals. From 2021 onwards, TPNW states parties will now work on establishing the strong legal framework to build adaptable verification systems and oversee nuclear disarmament compliance and implementation.
Speaking from UN House Scotland, ICAN Steering Group member, Janet Fenton said,
“The Scottish Peace Covenant expressed our desire for a Scotland that can contribute to international peace and justice, rather than being a launch pad for waging war. Now that aspiration is within our grasp. The TPNW shows the will of the sane majority of the world, and will ensure that we have unambiguous protection under international law when we stand strong in demonstrating our desire for nuclear disarmament and peace.”
INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS 2017 NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE
UK-based Partners, c/o UN House Scotland
44/3 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 1EX
Contact: Dr Rebecca Johnson 07733360955