Malawi ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on 29 June 2022, just one week after the historic first meeting of states parties in Vienna, which condemned any and all nuclear threats and agreed an ambitious action plan to rid the world of nuclear weapons. It became the 66th state to ratify or accede to the treaty.
In an address to the United Nations last year, Malawi’s president, Lazarus McCarthy, said: “I believe I speak for many Africans when I say that we find the continued proliferation and stockpiling of nuclear weapons – amongst nations we consider civilised and call friends – saddening and frightening.”
Malawi was the 14th African state to ratify the TPNW, after the Gambia, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Nigeria, Benin, Comoros, Seychelles, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, the Congo, and Cabo Verde. An additional 15 African states have signed but not yet ratified the treaty: Algeria, Angola, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Libya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Edward Chaka, the executive director of the People’s Federation for National Peace and Development (PEFENAP) in Malawi, an ICAN partner organisation, welcomed the ratification. “PEFENAP cerebrates with the world Malawi’s ratification of the TPNW, considering it a milestone in the history of the nation,” he said.
Malawi 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. Emmanuel Fabiano, the then-minister of foreign affairs of Malawi, signed the treaty when it opened for signature on 20 September 2017.