Guatemala has become the 62nd state to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) Confirming the move at the United Nations in New York on Monday 13 June.
The ratification is significant because it means that all seven Central American countries have now joined the Treaty – the other six being Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.
Guatemala is also the third state to ratify the Treaty since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent increasing of nuclear tensions – something which has put nuclear disarmament in the spotlight once again.
The Treaty, which bans nuclear weapons in the same way as chemical and biological weapons have been previously banned, came into legal force in January 2021. Guatemala was instrumental in the formulation of the Treaty, proposing an amendment at a UN meeting in 2016 which called for “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons”, That call became the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons a year later.
Guatemala will now join the other states parties and observers including Norway and Germany, at the First Meeting of States Parties, which starts next week in Vienna. So far the UK has said it does not plan to attend the meeting, but Christian CND continues to join many other civil society groups in calling for that decision to be reversed.
At a time when the risk of nuclear weapons being used is higher than in the last 60 years, we commend the leadership of states like Guatemala in continuing to pursue a different way of conducting international affairs.
Please join us as we thank God for the decision of Guatemala to ratify the Treaty and for all those campaigners who worked to ensure this step was made. We continue to also pray for the leaders of all other states, including the nine nuclear-armed states, to join the TPNW and move towards a nuclear weapons-free world.