New research: 35 states are sabotaging the NPT


Research shows that the five nuclear-armed states parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are not taking action to fulfill their nuclear disarmament obligations. This directly undermines and threatens the future success of the NPT. 30 more states, the so-called nuclear umbrella states, are enabling nuclear-armed states to retain and upgrade their weapons of mass destruction.

ICAN’s new briefing paper on this issue can be downloaded here.

The majority of the world is rejecting nuclear weapons. Approximately 80 per cent of the world’s states have rejected nuclear weapons as an option in their military strategy. Nuclear-free security strategies are the norm, not the exception.

“All nuclear-armed states are modernising or expanding their nuclear arsenals. They are planning to keep nuclear weapons for longer than the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has existed, showing few signs of being serious about nuclear disarmament”, says Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN. Nuclear-armed states have adopted dangerous and escalatory policies, some issuing explicit threats to use weapons of mass destruction to indiscriminately kill civilians.

This behaviour contradicts the objectives of the NPT and stands in direct conflict with Article VI on disarmament. Certain parties’ unwillingness to implement commitments made by consensus at the review conferences in 1995, 2000, and 2010 undermines the credibility of the Treaty. The CTBT is not yet in force, negotiations on an FMCT have not commenced, the bilateral US–Russian arms control process has ground to a halt, and meaningful risk reduction measures are nowhere in sight.

Nuclear-weapons-endorsing states and the NPT

A considerable number of non-nuclear-weapon states enable the nuclear arms race and undermine the NPT by continuing to support “extended nuclear deterrence”.

  • 30 non-nuclear-weapon states enable nuclear arms races and threats by explicitly basing their national defence partly on the potential use of nuclear weapons by allies. They are undermining the NPT.

  • 5 of the 30 states referred to above host the nuclear weapons of another state on their territories.

  • Many of these states routinely take part in war exercises simulating the use of nuclear weapons.

  • In addition, a number of private companies, including some with headquarters in non-nuclear-armed states such as Italy and the Netherlands, are involved in the design and production of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear-armed and nuclear umbrella states’ continued and increased reliance on nuclear weapons contradicts the commitment made under Action 5 in the 2010 NPT Action Plan to “further diminish the role and significance of nuclear weapons in all military and security concepts, doctrines and policies”.

Nuclear-weapons-endorsing states carry a huge responsibility for the current state of the new nuclear arms race. Their policies are blocking progress towards the elimination of nuclear weapons. These states are complicit in the increased risk of use of nuclear weapons.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Since the last meeting of the NPT review cycle, 122 states have concluded and adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), an inspiring effort at implementing Article VI of the NPT.

However, the nuclear-armed states and some of their allies have worked to undermine and discredit the historic new agreement, dissuading allies and partners from signing the treaty and implementing Article VI of the NPT.

154 of the world’s 195 states – approximately 80 per cent – maintain policies consistent with the TPNW’s core prohibitions, as well as the obligations and objectives of the NPT. About 40 states – approximately 20 per cent – maintain policies or are engaged in practices that conflict with one or more of the prohibitions in Article 1 of the TPNW. These practices are undermining the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and the implementation of the NPT.

“States that have not yet done so should sign and ratify the TPNW to show their commitment to the NPT. A strong norm against nuclear weapons – not just against use but also against possession – is necessary to counteract the new nuclear arms race and indefinite retention of nuclear weapons by certain states.” says Beatrice Fihn.