A new treaty will ban nuclear weapons
By Gaynor Lloyd
Waking unreasonably early this morning, having forgotten the clocks go back an hour, I was struggling to greet the day with cheer. Then I heard the news headlines: the 50th state, Honduras, had just ratified a treaty. To ban nuclear weapons.
The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) opened for signature three years ago. It’s a treaty that will make nuclear weapons illegal in the countries that sign it. The treaty needed 50 countries to ratify it before it before it could come into force – and overnight that milestone was reached.
CND general Secretary Kate Hudson noted: “This is a sea change in international law; never before have nuclear weapons been illegal.”
The treaty will come into force on January 22nd 2021. Shamefully the UK government refused to even participate in the treaty talks and now says it will never sign. The US has written to signatories, telling them they have made “a strategic error” and urging them to rescind their ratification. The Guardian dismissed the achievement as “essentially symbolic”, as the world’s nuclear powers have not signed up to the agreement.
But, for me, what is crucial is what Beatrice Fihn, the Swedish lawyer and executive director of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning campaign International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons, said: “Decades of activism have achieved what many said was impossible: nuclear weapons are banned.”
Campaigners hope this treaty will be a first rock in an avalanche of change, similar to that achieved by previous treaties on chemical and biological weapons, land mines and cluster munitions, stigmatising their use, changing states’ behaviour and discouraging financial institutions from funding the building of these weapons of terror […]