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6th and 9th August 2020 - Good Days for Global Nuclear Disarmament


While the world reflected on the horror of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki there has been huge encouragement for the cause of disarmament as four new UN states, Ireland, Nigeria, Niue and St. Kitts and Nevis, have ratified or acceded to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Ireland has been a champion of nuclear disarmament since the 60s and was a key player in the adoption of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Along with Austria, it has provided unwavering creative and imaginative advocacy for  the TPNW throughout the last decade and its ratification of that Treaty has been long expected, as well as hugely significant. As a member of the EU it now stand in good counterbalance to the French attachment to weapons of mass destruction, as well as the occasional  mutterings about the EU having its own nuclear weapons. Today's step forward by Ireland is also a boost for those who are working for the end of the treacherous business of “nuclear-sharing”, whereby the air forces of Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany are equipped with US nuclear weapons. Then there is the UK, a recalcitrant nuclear-armed state across the Irish Sea, and a little further north a Scottish government and people who reject nuclear weapons and support the TPNW - and who derive enormous encouragement from Ireland's assertive stance.


That stance is unequivocal, as Foreign Minister Simon Coveney put it: “The very existence of nuclear weapons threatens us all. There can be no right hands for the wrong weapons. The only guarantee of protection from nuclear weapons use is their complete elimination.”  There is a simple and remote analogy. Your roof leaks. You put buckets in the loft to collect the water. That's nuclear arms control and certainly helps, but if you don't do the radical thing and mend the roof there is the ever increasing risk that the ceiling is going to come down on your head one of these days. And right now they are actually removing the buckets.


In a speech today at the ICAN webinar Ambassador Samson Iteboje of Nigeria noted that the Covid 19 emergency has alerted the world anew to existential threats, and nuclear war is right up there in the top three. He spoke of the dream of making his entire continent an official Nuclear-Free Zone an aspiration based on the knowledge that even a regional nuclear weapon exchange would mean starvation in Africa.


Nuie is a small Pacific island state. In a statement today the newly elected President, Dalton Tagelagi, explained that Niue “has relied on our isolation to protect us.  However, we recognise that no state is immune to the effects of nuclear weapons.”


With St. Kitts and Nevis on board the Caribbean is now solidly behind the Treaty.


So now the Treaty has 44 ratifications, meaning that only six more of the  signatory states need to complete their legislative procedures before the Treaty’s entry into force, and more ratifications are apparently in the pipeline. All this in the face of crude pressure from the nuclear-armed states, and the US in particular, to prevent states from joining. If you have any doubt about the efficacy of the TPNW just ask yourself why the nuclear elite are working so hard against it. They know it will bite and make their ongoing criminality more difficult to sustain. Let's put everything we have behind the push.  








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