Switzerland

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has not yet joined the TPNW

Summary

Switzerland has not yet signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

 

National position

Switzerland has consistently abstained from voting on an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that welcomes the adoption of the treaty and calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to it “at the earliest possible date”.

 

Political developments

In June 2018, the Swiss government published a report on the implications of becoming a state party, which concluded that, “[a]t this stage, the reasons against an accession of Switzerland outweigh the potential opportunities accompanying a signature and ratification of this treaty”.

Both houses of the Swiss parliament subsequently instructed the government to proceed with signature and ratification of the treaty without delay. The government responded by announcing in April 2019 that it would review its decision by the end of 2020.

Switzerland’s reluctance to date to join the treaty has prompted some commentators to question whether the government has abandoned its “humanitarian tradition” and become too closely aligned with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), a so-called “nuclear alliance”.

 

Treaty negotiations

Switzerland 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. However, following the vote, it indicated that it was not fully supportive of the treaty text as adopted.

In its opening statement to the negotiating conference, Switzerland said that it “stands ready to actively participate in this endeavour, and help elaborate an instrument that brings us closer to the shared goal of achieving a world without nuclear weapons”.

In 2016, Switzerland abstained from voting on 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

Prior to the adoption of the treaty in 2017, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a comprehensive, globally applicable treaty prohibition. Switzerland supported calls in the UN General Assembly fill this “legal gap”.

A banner in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2013 declares that nuclear weapons will be the next category of weapons to be prohibited under international law. Photo: ICAN

Nuclear-weapon-free state

Has not yet joined the TPNW

[HIGHLIGHTS]

Summary

Switzerland has not yet signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

 

National position

Switzerland has consistently abstained from voting on an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that welcomes the adoption of the treaty and calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to it “at the earliest possible date”.

 

Political developments

In June 2018, the Swiss government published a report on the implications of becoming a state party, which concluded that, “[a]t this stage, the reasons against an accession of Switzerland outweigh the potential opportunities accompanying a signature and ratification of this treaty”.

Both houses of the Swiss parliament subsequently instructed the government to proceed with signature and ratification of the treaty without delay. The government responded by announcing in April 2019 that it would review its decision by the end of 2020.

Switzerland’s reluctance to date to join the treaty has prompted some commentators to question whether the government has abandoned its “humanitarian tradition” and become too closely aligned with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), a so-called “nuclear alliance”.

 

Treaty negotiations

Switzerland 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. However, following the vote, it indicated that it was not fully supportive of the treaty text as adopted.

In its opening statement to the negotiating conference, Switzerland said that it “stands ready to actively participate in this endeavour, and help elaborate an instrument that brings us closer to the shared goal of achieving a world without nuclear weapons”.

In 2016, Switzerland abstained from voting on 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

Prior to the adoption of the treaty in 2017, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a comprehensive, globally applicable treaty prohibition. Switzerland supported calls in the UN General Assembly fill this “legal gap”.

A banner in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2013 declares that nuclear weapons will be the next category of weapons to be prohibited under international law. Photo: ICAN

[PARTNERS]

Business and Rights Conform (BHCR)

ICAN Switzerland

website


KLAR! Schweiz 

website


Physicians for Social Responsibility (Switzerland)

website


Ärztinnen und Ärzte für Umweltschutz (AefU) 

website


Sortir du nucléaire Suisse Romande

website


World Federation of Public Health Associations

website


Friedenskraft.ch 

website

[LOCALSUPPORT]

Support for TPNW Get involved with ICAN in Switzerland›

ICAN Parliamentary Pledge

These are the Swiss elected representatives that support and promote the TPNW:

Isabelle Chevalley
Fabian Molina
Jacques-André Maire
Beat Flach
Martina Munz
Liliane Maury Pasquier
Carlo Sommaruga
Didier Berberat
Lisa Mazzone
Michael Töngi
Prisca Birrer-Heimo
Balthasar Glättli
Sibel Arslan
AngeloBarrile
Brigitte Crottaz
Samuel Bendahan

ICAN Cities Appeal

These are the cities and towns in this country speaking out in support of the TPNW:

Basel
Bern
Geneva
Luzern
St Gallen
Zurich

No events yet

Support for TPNW Get involved with ICAN in Switzerland›

ICAN Parliamentary Pledge

These are the Swiss elected representatives that support and promote the TPNW:

Isabelle Chevalley
Fabian Molina
Jacques-André Maire
Beat Flach
Martina Munz
Liliane Maury Pasquier
Carlo Sommaruga
Didier Berberat
Lisa Mazzone
Michael Töngi
Prisca Birrer-Heimo
Balthasar Glättli
Sibel Arslan
AngeloBarrile
Brigitte Crottaz
Samuel Bendahan

ICAN Cities Appeal

These are the cities and towns in this country speaking out in support of the TPNW:

Basel
Bern
Geneva
Luzern
St Gallen
Zurich

Find a local ICAN partner to get active Become an ICAN Partner Organization ›

  • Business and Rights Conform (BHCR)
  • ICAN Switzerland

    website

  • KLAR! Schweiz 

    website

  • Physicians for Social Responsibility (Switzerland)

    website

  • Ärztinnen und Ärzte für Umweltschutz (AefU) 

    website

  • Sortir du nucléaire Suisse Romande

    website

  • World Federation of Public Health Associations

    website

  • Friedenskraft.ch 

    website