At last, only two months after its adoption by the UN General Assembly on 7th July 2017, the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at the United Nations in New York. During the opening ceremony on 20th September, it was a rush to ensure that the first 42 states all signed the Treaty; since then, the number of states that have since signed continues to grow and the magical number of fifty was reached on the second day. On the opening day, 20 September, three states had also ratified the Treaty: Guayana, Holy See, and Thailand. A total of 50 ratifications are necessary for the Treaty’s entry into force, and while this will take a little longer, it is now clearly on its way. The current state of signatories and ratifications is fast moving and readers can check updates on the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
“This treaty is an incredible new piece of international law, achieved despite the opposition of the most militarised and powerful countries in the world,” said Ray Acheson, director of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s (WILPF) disarmament programme, Reaching Critical Will.
“It marks a turning point in the struggle against these genocidal weapons, in which the vast majority of governments and civil society have united to create law that can change policies and practices of nuclear deterrence and help facilitate nuclear disarmament.”
The nuclear-armed states have not participated in the negotiations and do not currently support the treaty. That includes, of course, the UK.
It is essential that our Scottish elected representatives do all they can to speak out publicly in support of the treaty. Many Scottish Parliamentarians have already signed the international Parliamentarians pledge on the ICAN website, and those that have not yet done so must be encouraged to do so by people in their constituencies. The Pledge allows our Scottish elected representatives to be seen as part of the growing global support for the TPNW and puts more pressure on the UK and its Trident modernisation programme.
The UK mainstream media are not reporting the TPNW so we need to get informed and share what we learn. There are public meetings and presentations are being arranged around the country to inform people – details here.
ICAN partner UN House in Edinburgh is setting up another open working group for ICAN Partner organisations and anyone with an interest in the TPNW. It is timed to suit campaigners in or near Edinburgh, but all and any are welcome. Its first meeting will be at 5.30pm on the 18th October, UN House at 4 Hunter Square Edinburgh, EH1 1QW. The session will be facilitated by UN House interns who were part of the July delegation in New York. All welcome.
The threat of nuclear war is these days very real, making ever more credible and essential the core of this Treaty – to prohibit these weapons and eliminate them.