photo credit: Skilla1st | Wikimedia Commons

Djibouti signs Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons


Djibouti has become the first new signatory to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in 2023. At the UN headquarters in New York on 9 January, the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mohamed Siad Doualeh, signed the landmark treaty, bringing the total number of signatories to 92. Djibouti will now commence its domestic ratification process in order to become a state party.

ICAN Executive Director, Beatrice Fihn, welcomed Djibouti’s decision:  “​​The steady increase in adherence to the landmark nuclear ban treaty reflects the strong desire of the international community to strengthen the global norm against nuclear weapons and see more rapid progress on disarmament.”

To date, 33 African countries have signed the TPNW, of which 15 have also ratified it. The TPNW complements and reinforces the 1996 Treaty of Pelindaba, which established Africa as a nuclear-weapon-free zone. The states parties to the Treaty of Pelindaba have called upon all African Union member states “to speedily sign and ratify the [TPNW]”.

Support for the TPNW

Djibouti has historically been a strong supporter of the TPNW. In 2016, Djibouti voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution that established the mandate for states to begin negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination," participated in the negotiation of the TPNW in 2017 and was among 122 states that voted in favour of its adoption. 

More recently, in a statement to the United Nations in October 2022, Djibouti announced that it would adhere to the TPNW as part of its “commitment to peace and disarmament”. It also encouraged other states that have not yet signed it to do so. In December 2022, Djibouti voted in favour of an annual UN General Assembly resolution calling on all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the TPNW “at the earliest possible date”.