On the UN day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, states took part in a signing ceremony for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as part of the General Assembly in New York.
The ceremony came shortly after UN Secretary-General António Guterres told a high-level meeting in New York that “the only sure way to eliminate the threat posed by nuclear weapons is to eliminate the weapons themselves”. He went on to say “No other technology, no other weapon of mass destruction, has the capacity to, quite literally, change the face of the earth, eradicating entire societies.”
Among the states taking part in the ceremony, the Treaty was ratified by Gambia, Samoa, San Marino and Vanuatu. This brings the number of states now party to the Treaty to 19, with 50 needed before it will enter into force.
Elsewhere other states signed the Treaty, meaning they will now go through their own process of ratification before becoming official parties to the Treaty. The states signing on Wednesday were Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Brunei, Guinea-Bissau, Myanmar, Seychelles and Timor Leste. This brings the total number of states having signed the Treaty to 67.
The Ban Treaty was agreed at the UN in July 2017 and is the first Treaty to prohibit various activities relating to nuclear weapons. It’s adoption was agreed by 122 states and followed months of negotiations. Unfortunately the nuclear-armed states including the UK decided to boycott the process and have so far failed to engage with the Treaty.
Christian CND is a proud partner of ICAN, the driving force behind the Treaty and the winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. We have been delighted that so many churches have come out in support of the Ban Treaty, including the Church of England which passed a motion at General Synod in July. The Ban Treaty will be the theme of the upcoming Christian CND conference in Coventry.