UNITED NATIONS – The UN announced on Saturday that 50 countries have ratified a UN treaty banning nuclear weapons, which would take effect after 90 days, a move welcomed by anti-nuclear activists but strongly opposed by the United States and other major nuclear powers.
As of Friday, the treaty has 49 signatories, and the UN said it had received the 50th ratification from Honduras.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised the 50 countries and praised the “instrumental work” of civil society to facilitate negotiations and push for ratification, said UN spokesman Stefan Dujarric.
The head of the UN said that the entry into force of the treaty on January 22 culminated in a global movement “to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”
Guterres said the treaty “represents a significant commitment to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, which remains a top priority for UN disarmament,” Dujarric said.
Beatrice Finn, executive director of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, whose work helped head the nuclear ban treaty, said: “This is the 75th anniversary of the horrific attacks. against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the founding of the United Nations, which made nuclear disarmament a cornerstone. “
“The 50 countries that ratify this treaty show real leadership in setting a new international norm that nuclear weapons are not only immoral but also illegal,” she said.
The 50th ratification came on the 75th anniversary of the ratification of the UN Charter, which was officially established by the UN and is marked as UN Day.
“The United Nations was created to promote peace in order to eliminate nuclear weapons,” Finn said. “This treaty is the UN at best – working closely with civil society to bring democracy to disarmament.”
The treaty requires all ratifying states “never under any circumstances … to develop, test, manufacture, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or store nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”. It also prohibits any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices – and the threat of using such weapons – and requires the parties to promote the treaty in other countries.
Once it enters into force, all states that have ratified it will be bound by these requirements.
The United States had written to the signatories, saying the Trump administration believed they had made a “strategic mistake” and called on them to cancel their ratification.
A letter from the Associated Press states that the five original nuclear powers – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – and NATO’s allies in America “are united in our opposition to the potential consequences” of the treaty.
It says the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, known as the TPNW, “returns the watch for disarmament and disarmament and is dangerous” to the half-century-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, considered a cornerstone of global non-proliferation efforts.
“TPNW is and will continue to be divided in the international community and will risk further strengthening divisions in existing non-proliferation and disarmament fora, which offer the only realistic prospect of consensus-based progress,” the letter said. “It would be unfortunate if TPNW were allowed to derail our ability to work together to deal with urgent proliferation.”
Fihn emphasized that “the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is concerned with the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the elimination of nuclear weapons, and this treaty implements it. There is no way to undermine the Non-Proliferation Treaty by banning nuclear weapons. This is the ultimate goal of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. “
The NPT seeks to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons outside the five original armed forces. It calls on non-nuclear countries not to pursue nuclear weapons in exchange for the five powers’ commitment to nuclear disarmament and to ensure that nuclear states have access to peaceful nuclear energy technologies.
Rebecca Johnson, co-founder and first president of the International Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons, said: in fact, they are an obstacle, an obstacle – they hinder the real security threats we have on the ground from COVID to the climate. “
She said in an interview with the AP that nuclear weapons cannot prevent or deal with conflicts such as the last war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. “They are just on the road and very expensive, and the governments that have them are distracted by the real security problems, constantly trying to pay for these arms races that they are still obsessed with.”
Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said: “The simple reality is that the international community could never hope to deal with the consequences of a nuclear confrontation. No country is ready to deal with a nuclear confrontation. What we cannot prepare for, we must prevent. “
There are more than 14,000 nuclear bombs in the world, thousands of which are ready to be fired in an instant, Roca said. The power of many of these warheads is dozens of times greater than the weapons thrown at Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
Secretary-General Guterres said in an interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday: “It is clear to me that we will be completely safe with regard to nuclear weapons only on the day when nuclear weapons no longer exist. We know it’s not easy. We know that there are many obstacles. “
He expressed hope that a number of important initiatives, including US-Russian negotiations to renew the New Launch Treaty limiting deployed nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers, and next year’s Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, “will all converge in the same direction and the ultimate goal should be to have a world without nuclear weapons. “
The treaty was approved by the 193-member UN General Assembly on July 7, 2017 by 122 votes in favor, the Netherlands opposed and Singapore abstained. Among the countries that voted in favor was Iran. The five nuclear powers and four other countries known or believed to have nuclear weapons – India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel – boycotted the talks and the vote on the treaty, along with many of their allies.
Setsuko Turlow, a survivor of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima who was an ardent fighter for the treaty, said: “When I learned that we had reached our 50th ratification, I could not resist.”
“I stayed in my chair, put my head in my hands and cried tears of joy,” she said in a statement. “I have devoted my life to the elimination of nuclear weapons. I have nothing but thanks to all who have worked for the success of our contract. “