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12 States Join the Nuclear Ban Treaty at Signature Ceremony

By Santo D. Banerjee

Photo: Group photo at the signature and ratification ceremony of the treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Credit: UN.

NEW YORK (IDN | UNODA) – For the second year in a row, the “core group” of StatPhoto: Group photo at the signature and ratification ceremony of the treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Credit: UN.es supporting the Treaty for Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) convened a signature and ratification ceremony on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, September 26. [2019-09-29]

At the ceremony, Botswana, Dominica, Grenada, Lesotho, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Tanzania and Zambia signed the Treaty; Bangladesh, Kiribati and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic deposited their instruments of ratification. Maldives and Trinidad and Tobago both signed and ratified.

Together with the deposit of Ecuador’s instrument of ratifications on September 25, the number of ratifying states is now 32 and the number of signatory States to 79. According to article 15 of the Treaty, the TPNW will enter into force 90 days after the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession has been deposited.

In her remarks at the ceremony, Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs congratulated the States undertaking treaty actions and noted that, in a deteriorating security environment, the goals of the TPNW remained as necessary as ever.

She pointed out that the United Nations has pursued the global elimination of nuclear weapons since the very first resolution of the General Assembly in 1946. When the UN Secretary-General António Guterres launched his disarmament agenda “Securing Our Common Future” on May 24, 2018, he unequivocally reaffirmed that the total elimination of nuclear weapons remains the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations.

“Seven  decades  after  their  invention, nuclear  weapons  continue  to  pose  unacceptable threats to collective, national, environmental and human security. The only sure means to remove the threats posed by nuclear weapons is through their total elimination,” Nakamitsu added.

Photo: Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu (left) and Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the seventy-fourth United Nations General Assembly (right). Credit: UN.

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the General Assembly, Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the 2018 Nobel Peace laureate International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons also made statements.

Born at a time of heightened distrust, the United Nations must do everything to ensure that the tragedy suffered by the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki never happens again, President of the General Assembly, Tijanai Mihammad-Bande reminded delegates in attendance. 

Remembering such devastation “makes it crucial” that everything that can be done, is done, to ensure this moment in history “was the last time such weapons are deployed,” he said. “‘Never again,’ must remain our main refrain” he urged.

Photo: Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (left) and Beatrice Fihn, ICAN Executive Director. Credit: UN.

ICRC President Maurer commended the States who signed the Treaty and encouraged those States to ratify it. The Red Cross and Red Crescent family is ready to assist States in that effort.

The international community would be unable to respond to humanitarian needs resulting from the use of nuclear weapons. Widespread radioactive illnesses, a decline in food production, and the pure scale of destruction and contamination these weapons would cause would make any response insufficient.

"The continued existence of nuclear weapons and the growing risk of their use make ongoing conflicts significantly more dangerous and increase the risk of a global conflagration from which there will be no protection," Maurer said. "Weapons with catastrophic humanitarian consequences cannot credibly be viewed as instruments of security."

ICAN’s Fihn celebrated the move by these 12 countries and the outspoken support for the Treaty around the world throughout the day. “Away from most cameras, we come together to do the actual work of nuclear disarmament. For the good of your people and the good of the world you propel the Treaty toward entry-into-force [...] Today, in this room, I feel the scale tilting toward the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. This day of action gives us all hope at a bleak time.”[IDN-InDepthNews – 29 September 2019]

Photo: Group photo at the signature and ratification ceremony of the treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Credit: UN.

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

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