Amidst rising levels of nuclear tensions and as the first Meeting of States Parties approaches, the Republic of the Congo deposited its instrument of ratification of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on 17 May 2022.
His Excellency Mr. Jean-Claude Gakosso, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francophonie and Congolese Abroad of the Republic of the Congo signed the TPNW on 20 September 2017, when it opened for signature, at a high-level ceremony in New York.
Congo’s ratification is testimony of Africa’s firm stance that multilateral action on nuclear disarmament is more necessary and urgent than ever, and that it is the responsibility of all states to lead towards the elimination of these horrific weapons.
In 2017, 42 African states voted in favor of the treaty’s adoption. Since then, 29 African states have signed the treaty and 12 states have now ratified it. Congo is the first Central African State to ratify the TPNW. On 10 March 2022, the African Union held a meeting on the universalisation of the TPNW in Africa, recalling the leading role African states played in the negotiation, adoption, and promotion of the TPNW, as well as the synergy of the treaty with other regional priorities and instruments, notably the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (the “Pelindaba Treaty”).
“The ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is worth its weight in gold and reminds us that international peace and security is worth this price”, Isidore Mvouba, President of the Congolese National Assembly, said in February 2022. Indeed, the consequences of any use of nuclear weapons anywhere would be disastrous, everywhere, resulting in death, destruction, climate change, famine, and an ensuing refugee crisis that would ripple throughout Africa and the world, threatening the very survival of humanity.
“Congo, by ratifying the TPNW, has just made a major contribution to global public health. The use of nuclear weapons would have devastating health consequences for years. It is important that countries which have not yet signed and ratified the TPNW follow Congo's example for a safe and healthy world,” reacted Georges Batala-Mpondo of the Association congolaise pour la santé publique et communautaire (ACSPC), ICAN’s Congolese partner.