Djibouti has become the 92nd state to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The African states’ ambassador to the United Nations, Mohamed Siad Doualeh formally signed on Monday 9 January – the first state to do so in 2023.
Djibouti has long been a supporter of the Treaty, being one of the states who called for negotiations to be initiated in 2017 and one of the 122 states who voted in support of the final version of the Treaty a year later. In October last year Djibouti announced that it would adhere to the TPNW as part of its “commitment to peace and disarmament” and in December voted in favour of an annual UN General Assembly resolution calling on all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the TPNW “at the earliest possible date”.
African states have been leading the charge on the Ban Treaty, which came into force in January 2021. So far 33 have signed, of which 15 have completed ratification. Djibouti will now go through its own internal processes to complete the ratification of the Treaty. Last year states gathered in Vienna to discuss the progress of the Treaty, as well as the next steps, for the first time. Amongst the states that joined the meeting were NATO members Norway, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands alongside Australia. unfortunately all of the nuclear-armed states chose to stay away.
Africa has long been a nuclear weapons-free zone, founded by the Treaty of Pelindaba in 1996. Recently states who are part of that Treaty urged all African states to join the TPNW.
We thank God for the decision of the government of Djibouti to join the TPNW and for those from civil society working to make it happen. We start 2023 by praying that more states would sign the Treaty and that those who have already signed would be able to complete ratification quickly.