Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF) UK Section
52-54 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8RT
Press Release: 30th October 2020 for immediate use
Irreversible Ban on All Nuclear Weapons Enters into Force
This week, Honduras became the 50th state to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), causing it to enter into force as international law in what is seen as a ground-breaking forward step for global nuclear disarmament.
The TPNW prohibits any activity relating to nuclear weapons, or assisting other states with the prohibited activities, and builds on the basis of existing international humanitarian law, which already obliges proportionality of response and the avoidance of unnecessary suffering. It will become binding on states which have ratified it on 22nd January – 90 days after the crucial 50th ratification.
This is the first disarmament treaty to specifically mention the disproportionate impact on women, the damage caused to the environment and the impact on indigenous people from nuclear weapons use and tests.
Reaching Critical Will (RCW), the disarmament programme of WILPF, has worked for many years with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN – Nobel Laureate 2017 for its contribution to the TPNW).
WILPF’s Dr Rebecca Johnson and founding chair of ICAN wrote in Open Democracy “Making human security the objective of negotiations, instead of privileging military-industrial interests, has resulted in a powerfully different Treaty, based on humanitarian law and feminist security principles.”
Entry into force will have a significant impact on the nuclear-armed states, moving nuclear arsenals clearly into the category of inhumane, pariah weapons and creating difficulties in material resourcing, financing, and navigation.
Ray Acheson (Director, RCW) said: “This is truly a historic moment for nuclear abolition, achieved only by the relentless efforts of generations of activists and diplomats around the world. In January, nuclear weapons will be unlawful to possess, develop, deploy, test, use threaten to use, or assist in any way, shape, or form for TPNW states parties.”
Janet Fenton, liaison for ICAN in Scotland and UK WILPF executive member, pointed out that the Scottish Parliament supports the TPNW and opposes the UK’s nuclear policy,
adding that “The TPNW will now ensure that Scotland can have unambiguous protection under international law if we stand with the sane majority of the world’s states, as an important step towards a feminist approach to security ”
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