The landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has now been signed by almost half of all countries after a ceremony today at the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York where Sri Lanka acceded to the treaty and the Bahamas signed it.
This means ninety-seven states have now signed, ratified or acceded to the treaty that outlaws nuclear weapons and all weapons-related activity.
The TPNW was negotiated in 2017 and entered into force in 2021. It is the first multilateral agreement to ban nuclear weapons in a comprehensive manner and establish a framework for their elimination, as well as for assisting victims of their use and testing.
The Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN, Melissa Parke, said: “the growing support for the TPNW brings added authority to what is already the strongest international norm against the worst weapons of mass destruction. This is sorely needed at this moment when the war in Ukraine and escalating tensions in the Korean peninsula have brought the world closer to nuclear war than at any time since the height of the Cold War”.
Ms Parke added: “any use of nuclear weapons would be an unparalleled humanitarian and environmental catastrophe and these two countries are to be praised for doing their part to prevent these horrific weapons from ever being used in conflict again”.
With the Bahamas’ signature today, adherence to the TPNW by Caribbean states is now almost universal. Sri Lanka’s accession, meanwhile, sends an important disarmament message to its nuclear-armed neighbours in South Asia, India and Pakistan.
- The TPNW bans countries from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in these activities.
- The second meeting of states parties to the TPNW will be held at the UN in New York in November and one of the key areas to be discussed will be the report of the working group on a verification mechanism for the treaty. The meeting will also hear a report from the Scientific Advisory Group on developments regarding nuclear weapons, nuclear weapon risks, the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament and related issues The meeting will also make decisions on support for victims and survivors of nuclear testing as well as environmental remediation, and advance discussions on a proposed international trust fund for affected states.
- ICAN is the civil society coordinator for the TPNW.
Alistair Burnett, ICAN Head of Media: [email protected] +41 78 238 7179