UN treaty banning nuclear weapons set to enter into force in January

In what leading campaigners are describing as “a new chapter for nuclear disarmament”, the ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will now come into force on 22 January, after Honduras became the 50th Member State to ratify on Saturday. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement commended all the countries whose ratification of the accord, approved by 122 nations at the General Assembly in 2017, who have helped bring the ban on weapons this far, singling out the work of civil society groups.

Chief among those, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017, declared through Executive Director Beatrice Fihn that the coming into force was “a new chapter for nuclear disarmament. Decades of activism have achieved what many sai was impossible: nuclear weapons are banned.”

One survivor of the atomic bombing at Hiroshima, Setsuko Thurlow, told ICAN that she had committed her whole life to abolition: “I have nothing but gratitude for all who have worked for the success of our treaty”, she said. Saturday’s milestone was reached a day after the island nations of Jamaica and Nauru submitted their ratifications meaning that in 90 days, the treaty will become active, banning nuclear weapons just over 75 after they were first used at the end of World War Two.

Mr. Guterres described the entry into force, as “the culmination of a worldwide movement to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. Mr. Guterres said he was looking forward to doing his part in facilitating the treaty’s progress towards total elimination. So far, the main nuclear powers of the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and France, have not signed the accord.

Source: The UN

Author: Tuula Pohjola