The Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty has opened for signatures today. The Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty, popularly known as the Nuclear Ban Treaty, was formerly adopted on 7th July and thus bans actors from using, threatening to use, producing, developing, holding and testing nuclear weapons.

More than 50 heads of state, government and foreign ministers are expected to sign the treaty today in New York, during a ceremony marking the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. With the growing tensions between North Korea and the US, the risk of nuclear war is once again growing. This Treaty is therefore not only landmark but also of ever-increasing relevance to the realpolitik of today.

Despite the nuclear states, including the UK, boycotting the UN negotiations for the Treaty earlier this year, the Treaty’s quest to be enshrined into International Law has reached the next step. Unfortunately, the UK is noticeably absent from the line of signatories.

ICAN UK have released a statement on the opening of the Nuclear Ban Treaty. ICAN UK writes,

Heads of State and Foreign Ministers from many countries will start the process of joining the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) when it is opened for signature by the UN Secretary General António Guterres in New York today, 20 September.

“Tensions are continuing to grow between the US and North Korea – both are practising the theory of deterrence, which has resulted in North Korea’s latest nuclear and missile tests. The risk of the use of nuclear weapons, with all the devastating humanitarian consequences that would entail, is higher than ever. By providing a global framework to rid the world of this inhumane and unacceptable weapon of mass destruction, the new Nuclear Prohibition Treaty provides new tools and pressures to address the insecurity that nuclear weapons create.

“Despite the declaration by the current UK government that Britain will never sign this multilateral disarmament treaty, parliamentarians and civil society are holding public signing events in Edinburgh, Leeds and London…” Read the rest of the statement here.

Beatrice Fihn, the executive director of ICAN, was also in attendance of the ceremony, and remarked on the historic nature of today.