Samoa

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has joined the TPNW

Signed: 20 September 2017

Ratified: 26 September 2018

 

Summary

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

 

Signature and ratification

Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi, the prime minister of Samoa, signed the treaty 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 2018.

In an address to the United Nations following the signing ceremony, Tuila’epa said that Samoa had signed the treaty because “we wanted to demonstrate unequivocally our aspiration to have a world without nuclear weapons”.

He added that “[t]he conventional narrative that the possession of nuclear weapons will act as [a] deterrent to make the world a safer place to live is not borne out by the current realities” – referring in particular to tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Samoa was the equal 16th state to ratify or accede to the treaty.

Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi, the prime minister of Samoa, signs the treaty in New York on 20 September 2017. Photo: ICAN

Tuila’epa deposits the instrument of ratification on 26 September 2018. Photo: ICAN

 

Implementation

In accordance with Article 2 of the treaty, Samoa submitted a declaration to the UN secretary-general on 23 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.

Samoa has promoted universal adherence to the treaty, 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 United Nations in September 2019, Tuila’epa said that “each new signature and ratification of the treaty ban will strengthen global norms against these weapons of terror and move us closer to a nuclear-weapon-free world”.

Members of the Samoan Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organisations discuss the treaty in the Samoan capital, Apia, in 2018. Photo: ICAN

 

Treaty negotiations

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

In 2016, Samoa co-sponsored 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”.

Dominic Misiolo Sofe, a member of the Samoan delegation, speaks at a side event during the treaty negotiations in June 2017. Photo: ICAN

 

Before the negotiations

Samoa 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.

Samoa, together with Fiji, Nauru, Palau, and Tuvalu, submitted a working paper to a UN working group in Geneva in 2016 in which it argued that “the debate should no longer be about whether a global ban on nuclear weapons is necessary, but rather how we can achieve it and what provisions it should contain”.

The five Pacific island states commented that the lived experience of nuclear weapons in the Pacific, where more than 300 atomic and hydrogen bombs were tested, has motivated them to work for a treaty-based ban.

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has joined the TPNW

[HIGHLIGHTS]

Signed: 20 September 2017

Ratified: 26 September 2018

 

Summary

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

 

Signature and ratification

Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi, the prime minister of Samoa, signed the treaty 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 2018.

In an address to the United Nations following the signing ceremony, Tuila’epa said that Samoa had signed the treaty because “we wanted to demonstrate unequivocally our aspiration to have a world without nuclear weapons”.

He added that “[t]he conventional narrative that the possession of nuclear weapons will act as [a] deterrent to make the world a safer place to live is not borne out by the current realities” – referring in particular to tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Samoa was the equal 16th state to ratify or accede to the treaty.

Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi, the prime minister of Samoa, signs the treaty in New York on 20 September 2017. Photo: ICAN

Tuila’epa deposits the instrument of ratification on 26 September 2018. Photo: ICAN

 

Implementation

In accordance with Article 2 of the treaty, Samoa submitted a declaration to the UN secretary-general on 23 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.

Samoa has promoted universal adherence to the treaty, 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 United Nations in September 2019, Tuila’epa said that “each new signature and ratification of the treaty ban will strengthen global norms against these weapons of terror and move us closer to a nuclear-weapon-free world”.

Members of the Samoan Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organisations discuss the treaty in the Samoan capital, Apia, in 2018. Photo: ICAN

 

Treaty negotiations

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

In 2016, Samoa co-sponsored 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”.

Dominic Misiolo Sofe, a member of the Samoan delegation, speaks at a side event during the treaty negotiations in June 2017. Photo: ICAN

 

Before the negotiations

Samoa 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.

Samoa, together with Fiji, Nauru, Palau, and Tuvalu, submitted a working paper to a UN working group in Geneva in 2016 in which it argued that “the debate should no longer be about whether a global ban on nuclear weapons is necessary, but rather how we can achieve it and what provisions it should contain”.

The five Pacific island states commented that the lived experience of nuclear weapons in the Pacific, where more than 300 atomic and hydrogen bombs were tested, has motivated them to work for a treaty-based ban.

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