Kiribati

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has joined the TPNW

SIGNED

20 September 2017

RATIFIED

26 September 2019

IN FORCE

22 January 2021

 

Status

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 at a high-level ceremony in New York 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.

In a statement to the United Nations in October 2021, Kiribati hailed the entry into force of the TPNW as “a milestone in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation affairs”, noting that the treaty “contains robust provisions on victim assistance, environmental remediation, and international cooperation'.

It added that it “is proud to have signed and ratified the TPNW, as we believe that the TPNW not only brings comfort to the victims of past nuclear weapon tests, but it also reignites a glimpse of hope for a more peaceful, loving, caring and trustful world in the future”.

Taneti Maamau, the president of Kiribati, signs the TPNW in 2017. Photo: ICAN

Maamau deposits the instrument of ratification in 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”.

Per Article 12, 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”.

 

Meetings of states parties

Kiribati participated in the first meeting of states parties to the TPNW, held in Vienna in June 2022. “Today marks a historic day,” it said in its opening statement, “a day in which we have risen up to say no to nuclear weapons.”

“The international community must listen to the voices of youth and of those whose families have suffered from nuclear testing,” it added. “The international community cannot forget how the former colonial powers treated innocent Pacific islanders in their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.”

Together with Kazakhstan, Kiribati submitted a working paper to the meeting containing proposals for action to assist victims of nuclear use and testing and to remediate contaminated environments. The two states were appointed co-chairs of an informal intersessional working group to address these issues.

 

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.

 

TPNW 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 TPNW negotiations.

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has joined the TPNW

[HIGHLIGHTS]

SIGNED

20 September 2017

RATIFIED

26 September 2019

IN FORCE

22 January 2021

 

Status

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 at a high-level ceremony in New York 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.

In a statement to the United Nations in October 2021, Kiribati hailed the entry into force of the TPNW as “a milestone in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation affairs”, noting that the treaty “contains robust provisions on victim assistance, environmental remediation, and international cooperation'.

It added that it “is proud to have signed and ratified the TPNW, as we believe that the TPNW not only brings comfort to the victims of past nuclear weapon tests, but it also reignites a glimpse of hope for a more peaceful, loving, caring and trustful world in the future”.

Taneti Maamau, the president of Kiribati, signs the TPNW in 2017. Photo: ICAN

Maamau deposits the instrument of ratification in 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”.

Per Article 12, 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”.

 

Meetings of states parties

Kiribati participated in the first meeting of states parties to the TPNW, held in Vienna in June 2022. “Today marks a historic day,” it said in its opening statement, “a day in which we have risen up to say no to nuclear weapons.”

“The international community must listen to the voices of youth and of those whose families have suffered from nuclear testing,” it added. “The international community cannot forget how the former colonial powers treated innocent Pacific islanders in their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.”

Together with Kazakhstan, Kiribati submitted a working paper to the meeting containing proposals for action to assist victims of nuclear use and testing and to remediate contaminated environments. The two states were appointed co-chairs of an informal intersessional working group to address these issues.

 

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.

 

TPNW 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 TPNW negotiations.

[PARTNERS]

[LOCALSUPPORT]