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Progress in 2021 towards universalising the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

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Support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) continued to grow in 2021, with a further eight countries becoming states parties: Cambodia, the Philippines, Comoros, Seychelles, Chile, Mongolia, Guinea-Bissau, and Peru. In addition, several countries made significant progress towards completing their domestic ratification procedures and are expected to become states parties in 2022.

In dozens of countries, campaigners from ICAN’s partner organisations met with government officials, parliamentarians, and other stakeholders to promote adherence to the TPNW. They organised workshops and press conferences, raising awareness about the grave threat that nuclear weapons pose in the world today and the importance of the TPNW as a tool for creating pressure and momentum for disarmament.

22 January 2021

Cambodia ratifies

On 22 January – the day the TPNW entered into force globally – Cambodia deposited its instrument of ratification with the UN secretary-general, becoming the 52nd state party. The national assembly and senate had unanimously approved the ratification in November 2020. During the negotiations for the TPNW in 2017, Cambodia remarked that “the ultimate goal of the instrument is to make it become universalised” so that it achieves “our final objective of a world without nuclear weapons”.

 

18 February 2021

Philippines ratifies

The Philippines became the 53rd state party to the TPNW on 18 February. President Rodrigo Duterte hailed the ratification as a milestone and reiterated his country’s commitment to work with others to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world for “peace, security, and the survival of all humanity”. The Center for Peace Education at Miriam College, an ICAN partner organisation in the Philippines, warmly welcomed the ratification, having worked to raise public awareness about the TPNW and build political support for it.

 

19 February 2021

Comoros ratifies

Comoros deposited its instrument of ratification with the UN secretary-general on 19 February, becoming the 54th state party. In September 2020, the Comorian foreign ministry and the Association SALAM, an ICAN partner organisation, co-hosted a workshop in the country’s capital, Moroni, to brief members of parliament about the treaty. The parliament approved the ratification in December 2020. According to Comoros, the TPNW “plays an important role in strengthening global standards against the use, proliferation, and possession of nuclear weapons by any state”. After signing the treaty in 2017, the president of Comoros, Azali Assoumali, called on nuclear-armed states “to abandon their nuclear weapons programmes”.

 

9 July 2021

Seychelles ratifies

Seychelles became the 55th state party to the TPNW on 9 July, after its national assembly unanimously approved the treaty on 30 June. In introducing a parliamentary motion in support of the TPNW, the leader of government business, Bernard Georges, said: “Seychelles has always been vulnerable to nuclear weapons. Ever since the island of Diego Garcia became a military base, Seychelles has been at the centre of nuclear weapons and, with numerous other military bases being set up in the region, we are surrounded by a nuclear presence.”

 

23 September 2021

Chile ratifies

On 23 September, as leaders from around the world gathered in New York for the annual high-level opening of the UN General Assembly, the foreign minister of Chile, Andrés Allamand, deposited his country’s instrument of ratification with the UN secretary-general. He described the TPNW’s entry into force earlier in 2021 as “one of the most important milestones on our path towards global and complete disarmament”. Chile was the 56th state to ratify or accede to the treaty. The chamber of deputies of the national congress of Chile had approved ratification of the treaty on 24 June and the senate had approved it on 24 August. The Latin America Human Security Network (SEHLAC), which serves on ICAN’s international steering group, hailed Chile’s ratification as a great step forward.

 

10 December 2021

Mongolia accedes

Mongolia deposited its instrument of accession to the TPNW on 10 December, becoming the 57th state party. In a speech to the national parliament in October, the Mongolian foreign minister, Battsetseg Batmunkh, said that joining the TPNW would “meet the fundamental interests of national security”. The parliament unanimously approved the ratification on 22 October. With Russia to its north and China to its south, Mongolia is surrounded by nuclear-armed states and has long stressed the need for greater action on disarmament. In an address to the UN General Assembly in September, Mongolia said that the TPNW’s entry into force “set a milestone in the international efforts in banning these disastrous weapons”. It added that the treaty will be “instrumental” in eliminating nuclear weapons.

 

15 December 2021

Guinea-Bissau ratifies

Guinea-Bissau deposited its instrument of ratification for the TPNW on 15 December, becoming the 58th state party. “The ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons constitutes the last and important step towards the unequivocal affirmation of Guinea-Bissau’s commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons,” said Suzi Carla Barbosa, the minister of foreign affairs of Guinea-Bissau. “We stand together for the affirmation of international peace and for the future of humanity.”

 

23 December 2021

Peru ratifies

Peru deposited its instrument of ratification on 23 December 2021, becoming the 59th state party. The ministry of foreign affairs said that the move highlighted Peru’s “high commitment to its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law”, as well as its “commitment to promoting international peace and security”. Addressing the UN General Assembly in September, the minister of foreign affairs, Óscar Maúrtua, hailed the TPNW’s entry into force as a “great achievement” and “a legal and moral starting point on a long road to achieve nuclear disarmament”.