Sign the nuclear ban treaty

August 29, 2017

On 7 July 2017, 122 States voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – a landmark international agreement that outlaws, categorically, the worst weapons of mass destruction and establishes a pathway to their elimination.

The treaty will open for signature at UN Headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017, during the High-Level Segment of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, and will be a great moment for heads of state, foreign ministers and other representatives of governments to sign this historic treaty.

ICAN strongly encourages all governments to sign the Treaty on September 20th.

Signing Ceremony for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)


  • The Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • President of the UN General Assembly
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross 
  • The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Time: 8:00 am-10:30 am
Date: Wednesday, 20 September 2017
Venue: Trusteeship Council Chamber, UNHQ, New York

This treaty is a historic breakthrough in the efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons, and is a counter-measure to escalating tensions and increasing focus on nuclear weapons by the nuclear-armed states. The treaty will set a powerful norm and impact behavior and policies even in states that initially do not join.

Why sign the convention?

Any use of nuclear weapons would cause unacceptable humanitarian suffering and would violate international humanitarian law, environmental law and human rights law. The humanitarian effects of the use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still felt today, over 70 years later.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons aims to protect civilians in time of war by preventing the use of nuclear weapons. It build upon and further develops norms established through the Nuclear-Non Proliferation Treaty, nuclear-weapon-free zones, the biological and chemical weapons conventions and other prohibitions of weapons that cause unacceptable harm to civilians.

The Treaty prohibits the use, possession and development of nuclear weapons, as well as provides assistance to victims of nuclear detonations and remediation of affected environments. Each state that signs and ratifies this treaty will contribute to strengthening this instrument’s wider impact in global nuclear politics, contribute to delegitimizing the role of weapons of mass destruction in security policies and can even influence military practices in states that do not initially sign the Treaty.

Signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons promises to be a historic event – potentially marking the turning point for nuclear disarmament. It will be the best opportunity for States to confirm their support for the prohibition of nuclear weapons at the highest level, generating visibility and media interest for the start of a new era. With a large number of States signing the treaty on that day, the ceremony will also generate momentum for the push for ratification, leading towards the entry-into-force of the treaty.

  • aiweiwei

    “Let’s act up! Ban nuclear weapons completely and unconditionally.”

    Ai Weiwei Artist and activist

  • sheen

    “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, they would be part of ICAN.”

    Martin Sheen Actor and activist

  • bankimoon

    “I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”

    Ban Ki-moon Former UN chief

  • yokoono

    “We can do it together. With your help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”

    Yoko Ono Artist

  • jodywilliams

    “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

    Jody Williams Nobel laureate

  • desmondtutu

    “With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”

    Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate

  • herbiehancock

    “Because I cannot tolerate these appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”

    Herbie Hancock Jazz musician

  • dalailama

    “I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”

    Dalai Lama Nobel laureate