UN bans nuclear weapons; fifty nations ratify international treaty

"We continue to call for an elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide."

Image Credit: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons/CC BY 2.0

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is now international law. Honduras became the fiftieth state to ratify the treaty, which bans the use, manufacturing, sale and maintenance of nuclear weapons.

Some of the other countries that have ratified the treaty include Thailand, Mexico, South Africa, Nigeria, Austria and New Zealand.

“The Sierra Club welcomes the ratification of this landmark international treaty, and stands with all nations that recognize the threat that nuclear weapons pose to all life on Earth,” John Coequyt, nuclear policy director of Sierra Club, said. “We continue to call for an elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide.”

The decision was praised by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN and the hundreds of other international groups for accomplishing legal prohibition of nuclear weapons, the Sierra Club said in a press release.

“This moment has been 75 years coming since the horrific attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the founding of the UN which made nuclear disarmament a cornerstone,” Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN, said.

The weaponizing of uranium since 1945 cost trillions of dollars to manufacture nearly 100,000 nuclear weapons impacting communities and the environment, Sierra Club said in a press release.

“The manufacturing and storage of nuclear weapons and the nuclear arms race are inherently dangerous,” Coequyt said. “All aspects of nuclear weapons, from their manufacture and storage, to their testing and usage, pose an unacceptable risk to every community and our environment.”

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will become effective Jan. 2021 for an “unlimited duration” banning the use of nuclear weapons within any nation that ratified the treaty, True Activist reported. The United States and Russia continue to oppose the treaty, while other nuclear-armed countries such as France, Britain, and China have yet to sign it.

António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, said the treaty is “a meaningful commitment towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons” and the ultimate goal is for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

“The United Nations was formed to promote peace with a goal of the abolition of nuclear weapons,” Fihn said. “This treaty is the UN at its best – working closely with civil society to bring democracy to disarmament.”


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Ashley is an editor, social media content manager and writer at NationofChange. Before joining NoC, she was a features reporter at The Daily Breeze – a local newspaper in Southern California – writing a variety of stories on current topics including politics, the economy, human rights, the environment and the arts. Ashley is a transplant from the East Coast calling Los Angeles home.