“I saw how new ideas often travel from the margins and the shadows to the centre, to the limelight where people – judges, presidents, prime ministers, international bodies – make decisions.”

Rebecca Solnit

Sunday 22nd January is the second anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). States which join it are prohibited from having anything to do with nuclear weapons. As of today, the Treaty has been signed by 98 of the UN’s 193 states. Many more intend to join the Treaty, as shown by the fact that around 130 states regularly support it whenever it is on the agenda at the UN General Assembly. What the Treaty does is to take existing international law on the conduct of war and applies its principles to the specific case of nuclear weapons. In this way it moves nuclear weapons into the same unspeakable category as chemical weapons.

Our neighbour Ireland has joined the Treaty. It was notable that the legislation to make the Treaty part of Irish law went through the two parliamentary houses on unanimous votes – it was a complete no-brainer. In the Scottish Parliament a majority of MSPs have signed the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge to support the TPNW – in line with Scottish rejection of these inhumane weapons and our consistent wish to have the UK’s nuclear arsenal removed from the Clyde. The UK, along with the other nuclear weapons states, persists in its refusal to engage with the Treaty, and at the same time is in clear breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by increasing and modernising its nuclear weapons.

The Treaty represents a worldwide hope that nuclear weapons can be consigned to history and the ongoing threat of utter catastrophe removed. Read it for yourself!

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