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Paraguay ratifies nuclear weapon ban treaty

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On 23 January, Paraguay became the 35th country to ratify the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapon. Only 15 further ratifications are now needed to bring this landmark treaty – which places nuclear weapons on the same legal footing as chemical and biological weapons – into force.

Paraguay’s ratification came just hours after an announcement by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that its board of directors set the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight, reflecting the increased global risk of nuclear war.

Paraguay is the 11th Latin American country to deposit its instrument of ratification, after Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Uruguay, El Salvador, Panama, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Latin American countries have been among the most vocal proponents of the treaty.

In an address to the United Nations in September 2017, when the treaty opened for signature, Paraguay’s president said: “In Paraguay, a constitutional provision bans weapons of mass destruction. Consequently, our country commends the recent adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”

Paraguay has promoted universal adherence to the treaty, including by co-sponsoring a UN General Assembly resolution in 2019 that calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the treaty “at the earliest possible date”. It participated in the negotiation of the treaty at the United Nations in 2017 and voted in favour of its adoption.