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ICAN: Good News!

A message from Tim Wright:

Dear Campaigners,

Lesotho has ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, becoming the 38th party! Only 12 more ratifications are now needed to bring it into force, and we know that several are very close (including Fiji's, as the parliament recently approved ratification).

Congratulations to our African campaign team, in particular those who are doing outreach to members of the Southern African Development Community, or SADC. Lesotho is the second SADC member this year to ratify the TPNW, after Namibia.

Here are two tweets about the ratification:

And a news story on our website (also pasted below):

Note that the instrument of ratification was deposited on Saturday (6 June) but officially entered into the records on Monday. If you refer to the date of ratification, please use 6 June.

Lesotho ratifies UN nuclear weapon ban treaty

On 6 June 2020, Lesotho ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, becoming the third member of the Southern African Development Community to do so, after South Africa and Namibia. The landmark treaty, which comprehensively outlaws the worst weapons of mass destruction and establishes a framework to eliminate them, will enter into legal force once 12 more nations have ratified it.

Lesotho participated in the negotiation of the treaty in 2017, hailing its adoption by 122 nations as “a historic achievement of our time”. It said that “it must be ratified and implemented by all”. The foreign minister of Lesotho signed the treaty at a high-level ceremony in New York last September.

In a statement to the United Nations in October, Lesotho welcomed “the steadily increasing number” of UN member states becoming signatories to the treaty and pledged to support “all efforts to enhance the institutional fabric of this treaty”. It co-sponsored a UN General Assembly resolution in December that called upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the treaty “at the earliest possible date”.

The treaty was negotiated in response to the ever-deepening concern of the international community at the catastrophic consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons. No nation is immune to these consequences: people in neighbouring and distant nations who have nothing to do with the conflict would suffer from the effects of radioactive fallout, climate disruption, and resource insecurity.

Furthermore, nuclear weapon programmes divert tens of billions of dollars every year from health care, education, disaster relief, and other vital services. The preamble to the treaty expresses concern at “the waste of economic and human resources” on such programmes. By ratifying the treaty, Lesotho has helped strengthen the global norm against the use and possession of nuclear weapons by any nation.

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