Botswana has become the 40th state to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), confirming the move at the United Nations on Wednesday 15 July.
The Treaty was agreed by the United Nations in July 2017 after negotiations last several months. 122 states voted in favour of the Treaty at the final stage and since then many votes at the United Nations have confirmed the position of the international community in opposing nuclear weapons. The Treaty will ban nuclear weapons on the ground of their humanitarian consequences, in the same way that chemical and biological weapons have previously been banned.
Botswana becomes the fifth African state to join the Treaty following Lesotho, The Gambia, Namibia and South Africa. South Africa is one of the states to give up nuclear weapons, ending its programme in the late 1980s before joining the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1991. The African continent is one of the nuclear weapons-free zones in the world following the entry into force of the Treaty of Pelindaba in 2009.
The TPNW will enter into force when 50 states join. With more than 80 having signed and currently in the process of completing domestic processes before formally joining, it is hoped that this will happen at some time in the coming months.
So far the nuclear-armed states, including the UK, have refused to engage with any processes around the TPNW. Please join us as we thank God not only for the move of Botswana to ratify but also that the UK and others would engage with the Treaty, leading to the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.