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UN Nuclear Treaty achieves 50th ratification for Entry into Force on UN 75th Anniversary

Article from ICAN UK

UN Nuclear Treaty achieves 50th ratification for Entry into Force on 75th anniversary of UN's founding

London, 25 October 2020:

The United Nations has confirmed that the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has been ratified by its 50th state party, Honduras, and will therefore enter into international legal force 90 days later, on 22 January 2021.

"This Treaty bans nuclear weapons production, testing, possession and use, along with other activities that could enable and assist anyone to acquire or use these weapons of mass destruction ever again," said Dr Rebecca Johnson, a former Greenham peace activist and first president of the Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN, 2017 Nobel Peace Laureate).

"This treaty is the culmination of 75 years of humanitarian activism, from the "Hibakusha" and indigenous survivors of nuclear weapons and testing, to the Aldermaston marchers and Greenham Common Peace Women who helped to ban nuclear testing and get cruise missiles banned and off the roads. Together we've persuaded UN governments to bring this ground-breaking nuclear disarmament treaty into international humanitarian law. Our task now is to bring all the nuclear armed and dependent countries into working with the non-nuclear majority to eliminate existing arsenals and universalise, implement and verify the Nuclear Ban Treaty."

Ben Donaldson, from United Nations Association UK (UNA-UK), highlighted the symbolism of the TPNW reaching its 50th ratification on UN Day, 75 years on from the founding of the United Nations, and recognised that nuclear weapons were first used against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years ago in August 1945.

Noting that this UN-negotiated multilateral treaty was recently described by UN Secretary-General António Guterres as an important pillar to strengthen nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, Mr Donaldson said, “The ground is moving under the UK’s feet. We now have this significant new UN treaty which will sit alongside the other major global treaty on nuclear weapons, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and drive forward the international community’s shared vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. Governments, international organisations and civil society are sending a clear message to nuclear-armed that they have lived in fear of fallout for far too long, and want real disarmament action now.”

As well as banning the activities and practices that make nuclear acquisition, proliferation and use possible, the TPNW provides two legal pathways by which nations holding nuclear weapons, like the UK, can eliminate their arsenals. From 2021 onwards, TPNW states parties will now work on establishing the strong legal framework to build adaptable verification systems and oversee nuclear disarmament compliance and implementation.

Speaking from UN House Scotland, ICAN Steering Group member, Janet Fenton said,

“The Scottish Peace Covenant expressed our desire for a Scotland that can contribute to international peace and justice, rather than being a launch pad for waging war. Now that aspiration is within our grasp. The TPNW shows the will of the sane majority of the world, and will ensure that we have unambiguous protection under international law when we stand strong in demonstrating our desire for nuclear disarmament and peace."


For further information contact Dr Rebecca Johnson 077 333 60955 ( and Ben Donaldson

For photos and further information on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons:

Last week, as the 50th ratification neared, the Associated Press UN correspondent in New York, Edith Lederer, broke the news that the Trump Administration is making last ditch attempts to persuade countries to renege on signing and ratifying the TPNW. Comment from Dr Johnson, "Mr Trump has shown many times that he does not personally or politically respect laws and treaties, but most people – including the vast majority here in the UK – recognise the value of treaties, laws and international cooperation for our security, rights and wellbeing."

ICAN's UK News Release on TPNW 50th rati
Download • 127KB


Articles published by ABC News, AP and The Guardian on the Treaty:

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