Today, Honduras became the 50th country to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The 50th ratification triggers irreversible entry into force.
Each state has 90 days to make arrangements to fully comply with the Treaty’s terms – to outlaw all nuclear weapons and nuclear tests, and to repair, as far as possible, the damage which our terrible nuclear history has done to survivors and to our planet. It also binds its member states to urge all other governments to join.
Since they have not yet acceded to the Treaty the world’s 9 nuclear-armed countries (and the other countries which host nuclear weapons) are not yet bound by it, but we know that Treaties change behaviour, even among the countries that don’t ratify them. The entry into force of Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban Treaty have completely changed the world’s approach to these deadly weapons, despite the US not having ratified either of them. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will do the same.
The nuclear-armed states are well aware that the Treaty will have an impact. This week, we saw the unedifying spectacle of the world’s biggest nuclear power – the USA – begging the countries who have signed the Treaty to withdraw from it. Although they have previously made huge efforts to discourage states from joining, this new behaviour is a first in breaching UN diplomatic protocols. They know, as well as we do, that this Treaty will forever change the way the world relates to nuclear weapons.
Today is a day that will go down in history – the day the world banned the bomb. We thank the 50 countries that have shown the courage and leadership needed to bring this Treaty into force, and the 34 more who have signed it, who we trust will ratify it soon. We recognise the tireless work of our fellow campaigners for peace and disarmament in those countries, as well as in countries still committed to nuclear weapons, where the journey may be longer – but where there is now hope of a better ending.
We know that the Scottish Government, and Scottish parliamentarians, support the aims of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. We call on all Parties and all representatives to pledge that they will support the Treaty – to pressure the UK Government to sign up now, and to state unequivocally that Scotland, if independent, would ratify in its own right and have global and UN backing in refusing to have any nuclear weapons here.
The next 90 days are 90 days of celebration and education, as member states prepare their arrangements for the Treaty to enter into force. Join us to learn more about the Treaty and what it means for Scotland, and for our world, and to add your voice to the call for nuclear disarmament now.
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To find out more about the Treaty and what it means for us here, head to NuclearBan.Scot. To learn more about the international campaign against nuclear weapons, visit ICANW.org. For regular updates on Scottish CND’s campaign, sign up to our newsletter here, come along to our virtual AGM on 21 November, or get involved with your local group.
In the words of atomic bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow: “The beginning of the end of nuclear weapons has arrived! Let us step through the doorway now!”