Kiribati

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has joined the TPNW

Signed: 20 September 2017

Ratified: 26 September 2019

 

Summary

Kiribati has signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). It was among the original 50 states parties to the treaty when it entered into force on 22 January 2021.

 

Signature and ratification

Taneti Maamau, the president of Kiribati, signed the TPNW when it opened for signature on 20 September 2017. He deposited the country’s instrument of ratification with the UN secretary-general on 26 September 2019.

Kiribati was the equal 28th state to ratify or accede to the TPNW.

Taneti Maamau, the president of Kiribati, signs the TPNW at a high-level ceremony in New York on 20 September 2017. Photo: ICAN

Maamau deposits the instrument of ratification on 26 September 2019. Photo: ICAN

 

Implementation

In accordance with Article 2 of the TPNW, Kiribati submitted a declaration to the UN secretary-general on 20 February 2021 confirming that it does not own, possess, or control nuclear weapons, has never done so, and does not host any other state’s nuclear weapons on its territory.

It noted, however, that “there may be remnants of nuclear materials or other nuclear waste on and around Kiritimati Island which used to be owned, possessed or controlled by the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States of America during the pre-independence period”.

Kiribati has promoted universal adherence to the TPNW, including by co-sponsoring and consistently voting in favour of an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the treaty “at the earliest possible date”.

In a statement to the UN General Assembly in September 2021, Maamau encouraged states parties to the TPNW to adopt “a robust action plan that enumerates practical steps for victim assistance, environmental remediation, and international cooperation and assistance”. He added that his government is prepared “to host a regional centre of learning for the TPNW”.

 

Nuclear testing in Kiribati

Between 1957 and 1962, the United Kingdom and the United States tested 33 nuclear weapons at Malden and Kiritimati islands in Kiribati, with devastating long-term health and environmental impacts.

 

Treaty negotiations

Kiribati participated in the negotiation of the TPNW at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and was among 122 states that voted in favour of its adoption.

In 2016, Kiribati voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

 

Before the negotiations

Kiribati was among 127 states that endorsed a “humanitarian pledge” in 2015–16 to cooperate “in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit, and eliminate nuclear weapons”. The pledge was instrumental in building momentum and support for convening the negotiations.

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has joined the TPNW

[HIGHLIGHTS]

Signed: 20 September 2017

Ratified: 26 September 2019

 

Summary

Kiribati has signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). It was among the original 50 states parties to the treaty when it entered into force on 22 January 2021.

 

Signature and ratification

Taneti Maamau, the president of Kiribati, signed the TPNW when it opened for signature on 20 September 2017. He deposited the country’s instrument of ratification with the UN secretary-general on 26 September 2019.

Kiribati was the equal 28th state to ratify or accede to the TPNW.

Taneti Maamau, the president of Kiribati, signs the TPNW at a high-level ceremony in New York on 20 September 2017. Photo: ICAN

Maamau deposits the instrument of ratification on 26 September 2019. Photo: ICAN

 

Implementation

In accordance with Article 2 of the TPNW, Kiribati submitted a declaration to the UN secretary-general on 20 February 2021 confirming that it does not own, possess, or control nuclear weapons, has never done so, and does not host any other state’s nuclear weapons on its territory.

It noted, however, that “there may be remnants of nuclear materials or other nuclear waste on and around Kiritimati Island which used to be owned, possessed or controlled by the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States of America during the pre-independence period”.

Kiribati has promoted universal adherence to the TPNW, including by co-sponsoring and consistently voting in favour of an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the treaty “at the earliest possible date”.

In a statement to the UN General Assembly in September 2021, Maamau encouraged states parties to the TPNW to adopt “a robust action plan that enumerates practical steps for victim assistance, environmental remediation, and international cooperation and assistance”. He added that his government is prepared “to host a regional centre of learning for the TPNW”.

 

Nuclear testing in Kiribati

Between 1957 and 1962, the United Kingdom and the United States tested 33 nuclear weapons at Malden and Kiritimati islands in Kiribati, with devastating long-term health and environmental impacts.

 

Treaty negotiations

Kiribati participated in the negotiation of the TPNW at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and was among 122 states that voted in favour of its adoption.

In 2016, Kiribati voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

 

Before the negotiations

Kiribati was among 127 states that endorsed a “humanitarian pledge” in 2015–16 to cooperate “in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit, and eliminate nuclear weapons”. The pledge was instrumental in building momentum and support for convening the negotiations.

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