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A Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty Is Almost There

Categories: Articles:Nuclear Weapons | Published: 04/07/2017 | Views: 1696
Update as final week begins

It’s historic. The formal schedule of the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty Conference for this Friday coming (7th July) is the adoption of the treaty itself. Over 130 UN states are participating. It’s the very best news in nuclear disarmament in decades.

The Conference, which has the support of the overwhelming majority of the UN member states, has arisen from the growing awareness worldwide of the catastrophic humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons, as underscored by declarations from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent that even a regional exchange of nuclear weapons would mean a disaster beyond any human remedy.

The Treaty will follow the pattern of the treaties banning other weapons, such as landmines and chemical weapons. Like these it will not require ratification by all UN states to be effective.

At every step, from the series of international conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons up to the most recent revisions on Friday (30th June), the commitment to prohibition has been strengthened. These revisions include a clearer link to current international humanitarian law on weapons of mass destruction and, critically, prohibit the threat to use them, thus making the concept of deterrence itself illegitimate. Nuclear-armed states may join the Treaty by first eliminating their arsenals or, alternatively, on the basis of a plan, for a clearly timetabled and certified elimination.

Even in these last few days, many diplomats and civil society representatives are keen to still further strengthen the requirements of the Treaty. One aim is to provide more clarity for situations in which non-nuclear states can maintain in a military alliance with a nuclear-armed state and another is the hope that Treaty will be clearer about prohibiting financing nuclear weapon activity.

Once the Treaty is adopted it will open to signing and ratification by 40 or 50 states.(dependent on the final wording) to become a legally binding UN Treaty to stigmatise, and prohibit nuclear weapons leading to their elimination.  Read the full update here.

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