Global treaty banning nuclear weapons to enter into force

Monday, 26 October 2020 00:30 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S - Reuters

UNITED NATIONS, AFP: An international treaty banning nuclear weapons has been ratified by a 50th country, the UN said, allowing the “historic” text to enter into force after 90 days.

While nuclear powers have not signed up to the treaty, activists who have pushed for its enactment hold out hope that it will nonetheless prove to be more than symbolic and have a gradual deterrent effect.

Honduras became the 50th country to ratify.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called it “the culmination of a worldwide movement to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”, according to a statement from his spokesman on Saturday.

“It represents a meaningful commitment towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, which remains the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations.” NGOs also welcomed the news, including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition that won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its key role in bringing the treaty to fruition.

“Honduras just ratified the Treaty as the 50th state, triggering entry into force and making history,” ICAN said in a tweet. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Peter Maurer said in a statement: “Today is a victory for humanity, and a promise of a safer future.” The 75th anniversary of the nuclear attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, marked in August, saw a wave of countries ratify the treaty, which will now to enter into force on 22 January 2021, the UN said.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – which bans the use, development, production, testing, stationing, stockpiling and threat of use of such weapons – was adopted by the UN General Assembly in July 2017 with the approval of 122 countries.

Eighty-four states have since signed it, though not all have ratified the text.

The clutch of nuclear-armed states, including the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, have not signed the treaty.

Japan, the only country to have been attacked with atomic weapons, ruled out any immediate plans to sign.

“We can’t help but question the effectiveness of the treaty, which nuclear powers can’t join,” Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters on Sunday.