ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn addresses a UN high-level ceremony on the day of the TPNW's entry into force.
Excellencies, colleagues, friends,
Today we reach a major milestone on the road to a more peaceful and secure world, free from the ultimate menace of nuclear war.
Ever since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, citizens the world over have petitioned and protested for a permanent ban on nuclear weapons.
That ban – long imagined, long sought – is now, finally, in force.
For the first time, the worst weapons of mass destruction – weapons so horrific that they threaten the very survival of humanity – are subject to a comprehensive, global prohibition.
For the first time, a multilateral legal framework exists to eliminate nuclear-weapon programmes verifiably and irreversibly.
For the first time, an international system is in place to assist victims of the use and testing of nuclear weapons, and remediate contaminated environments.
This treaty is a monumental accomplishment, and I wish to thank everyone who contributed to its creation: the activists and concerned citizens; the diplomats, UN officials, and Red Cross humanitarians; but most of all, the hibakusha.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to the survivors of nuclear war who have courageously and painfully spoken out, time and again, to save humanity from itself.
Some will seek to downplay the historical significance of this moment – those intent on preserving the status quo, who feel strong wielding these instruments of mass murder; or those who profit from their production.
But their voices are soft whimpers amid the loud chorus of support for this crucial new piece of international law.
To the states that have already ratified the treaty:
Thank you – for your leadership, your courage, your vision. You have made history today, laying the foundations for a better tomorrow.
To the supportive states that haven’t yet ratified it:
Please act swiftly. Each new ratification entrenches the treaty’s norms and makes it effective in achieving its goals.
To the states that endorse and offer practical support for their ally’s nuclear weapons:
Stop now. You are aiding and abetting the retention and potential use of illegal weapons. You are wilful accomplices in a joint criminal enterprise that is endangering our planet.
To the nuclear-armed states:
Your weapons are now banned. Permanently. You are on the wrong side of international law, the wrong side of history, and the wrong side of humanity.
It’s time to consign your awful bombs to the dustbin of history. You’ll be celebrated for it – and wonder why you didn’t do it much sooner.
ICAN will continue campaigning until all countries have joined this treaty, and all nuclear weapon are eliminated.
That is our promise today. Thank you.