Entry into force of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty on 22 January 2021

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Entry into force of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty on 22 January 2021

gen. 13, 5:41am

On 7 July 2017 an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations adopted a landmark global agreement to ban nuclear weapons, known officially as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. On 22 January 2021, the treaty will enter into force. Prior to the treaty’s adoption, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a comprehensive ban, despite their catastrophic, widespread and persistent humanitarian and environmental consequences. The new agreement fills a significant gap in international law. There are currently 86 signatories and 51 states parties.

I think it's worth a mention on LT, particularly as many of the posters here come from two of the nations which still possess nuclear weapons and show no signs of trying to relinquish or even reduce them, namely USA and UK.

Full text of the TREATY ON THE PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS in several languages can be found at https://www.icanw.org/full_text_of_the_treaty

gen. 13, 7:52pm

>1 John5918: On 7 July 2017 an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations ... There are currently 86 signatories and 51 states parties.

If that's not simply wrong, it seems misleading. There's 193 states in the UN; 86, much less 51, is not a majority, much less an overwhelming majority.

Also, four of the five largest nations in the world aren't signatory states and only three of the ten largest nations in the world have taken the further step of being state parties. It's even farther from a count of the representatives of the people of the world.

Editat: gen. 14, 8:58am

>2 prosfilaes:

True, yes, ICAN has exaggerated in using that term and it was careless of me to copy that particular bit of their statement without checking and correcting it. Apologies for not correcting it, and thanks for pointing it out. Still, the treaty now has the force of international law and it's one small step in the right direction.

gen. 21, 10:55pm

Global nuclear weapons ban begins – without the world's nuclear powers (Guardian)

An international treaty banning all nuclear weapons that has been signed by 51 countries and that campaigners hope will help raise the profile of global deterrence efforts comes into force on Friday.

Although in some respects the step is largely symbolic because the world’s nuclear powers have not signed up, the treaty will be legally binding on the smaller nations that have endorsed it, and it is backed by the UN leadership.

The treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons (TPNW) outlaws the creation, ownership and deployment of nuclear weapons by signatory states and places obligations on them to assist other victims of nuclear weapons use and testing.

Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has released polling saying that 59% of the UK public support the country signing up to the TPNW and that 77% support a “total ban on all nuclear weapons globally”....

gen. 22, 12:27am

“The common destiny of humankind depends on a world without nuclear weapons.” - Pope Francis

Catholic church leaders' statement welcoming the new UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons

Editat: gen. 22, 3:11am

>2 prosfilaes:

I've now done a little more digging, and although so far only 86 states have signed the Treaty and 51 have ratified or acceded to it, when it was adopted at the United Nations on 7th July 2017, 122 states voted in favour. Signing, ratifying and acceding to international treaties is always a long drawn out process, so one can hope that eventually a majority of states will have done so, but given the 122 votes in favour of adoption, it is not unreasonable to say that a majority of states voted to adopt the treaty. 122 out of 193 is ~62%.

Editat: gen. 23, 9:06am

A voice from the Middle East:

Landmark anti-nuclear treaty enters into force (Al Jazeera)

The first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons has entered into force, an historic step marred by the lack of signatures from the world’s major nuclear powers...

When the treaty was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in July 2017, more than 120 approved it. But none of the nine countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons — the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — supported it, and neither did the 30-nation NATO alliance...

Japan, the world’s only country to suffer nuclear attacks, also does not support the treaty, even though the aged survivors of the bombings in 1945 strongly push for it to do so. Japan on its own renounces the use and possession of nuclear weapons, but the government has said pursuing a treaty ban is not realistic with nuclear and non-nuclear states so sharply divided over it...

Pope Francis heralded the treaty’s enactment during his general audience on Wednesday. “This is the first legally binding international instrument explicitly prohibiting these weapons, whose indiscriminate use would affect a huge number of people in a short time and would cause long-lasting damage to the environment”...

Worth mentioning that one of the countries which did sign is the only country ever to have possessed nuclear weapons and of its own accord renounced and destroyed them, namely South Africa.

gen. 24, 3:41am

>7 John5918: I think you've said before that old South Africa destroyed its nuclear weapons in part to keep them out of the hands of the future South African state. Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan all had nuclear weapons upon dissolution of the Soviet Union, and only Kazakhstan of the three is a signatory or states party. (I suspect Ukraine is regretting selling its nuclear weapons so cheaply, but not the US-pushed position that they should stay part of Russia.) I don't know how the US or Russia would have dealt with one of those nations being insistent on keeping nukes.

I guess I'd say that the argument about South Africa is that no country really has ever just renounced nuclear weapons. Perhaps a revolution in North Korea or Israel could get them to give up nuclear weapons, but I don't know what would cause any of the other nuclear-armed countries to give up nuclear weapons. Disarmament would have to be multilateral.

Among the signers are Monaco, San Marino and Liechtenstein who can afford to disdain the militaries that protect them, and a bunch of third parties who would be bystanders in any nuclear war. Among the non-signers are the nuclear armed states and a bunch of their allies. I find it interesting that various Middle East nations (plus Iran) who might conceivably be threatened by an Israeli nuke, and who are about the only non-nuclear states threatened by a nuclear state, haven't got around to signing.

So I'm just a little cynical. There's no cost for anyone who has signed it, and no value for many of those who haven't signed it. I suspect I'll join many of my fellow citizens of nuclear armed countries who might be amenable towards the nuclear armed powers disarming, but find these nations signing this treaty to mean little to me.

Editat: gen. 24, 5:20am

>8 prosfilaes: old South Africa destroyed its nuclear weapons in part to keep them out of the hands of the future South African state

There may be some truth in that, but one also has to remember the 1988 Tripartite Accord with Cuba and Angola, which led to the withdrawal of South African and Cuban troops from Angola and independence for Namibia, and thus removed the major threat which South Africa perceived in the region. And as Wikipedia puts it, "The pre-emptive elimination of nuclear weapons was expected to make a significant contribution toward regional stability and peace, and also to help restore South Africa's credibility in regional and international politics. F.W. de Klerk saw the presence of nuclear weapons in South Africa as a problem". But in any case, any state voluntarily getting rid of its nuclear weapons will do so for a variety of reasons connected with its own perceived self-interest.

Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan all had nuclear weapons upon dissolution of the Soviet Union

Thanks for reminding me that some former Soviet states had nuclear weapons and got rid of them. I'd forgotten that. The fact that almost a third of states which used to have nuclear weapons no longer have them is hopeful news.

a bunch of third parties who would be bystanders in any nuclear war

Bystanders? No, "collateral damage", or to put it more accurately, victims. There are no bystanders in a nuclear war.

Monaco, San Marino and Liechtenstein... these nations signing this treaty mean little to me

It's easy for someone living in a large powerful militaristic country to ignore the views of people in small weak peaceful states, but one of the reasons we have international multilateral institutions and norms is so that the voices of all get heard.

So I'm just a little cynical

Well, so am I. I doubt whether this will have much influence on the major militaristic powers, like the USA, China and Russia, nor on potential rogue states such as Israel and North Korea. Who knows whether or not it will bolster public opposition to nuclear weapons in countries such as UK and France? Or whether it will increase political pressure on India and Pakistan? Or assist attempts to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons? Change rarely happens overnight due to a sudden single cause, but is the result of long campaigns where progress is incremental, and often includes symbolic steps. This is one of those small symbolic increments. The treaties on chemical and biological weapons, cluster weapons and landmines have not completely obliterated those weapons, but has reduced their use, caused a number of the more responsible states to renounce some or all of them, and increased the pressure on those states who do still use them. Hopefully this nuclear weaons ban treaty will perform the same function.

Editat: gen. 25, 1:02am

>9 John5918: It's easy for someone living in a large powerful militaristic country to ignore the views of people in small weak peaceful states,

I'd argue that Monaco is actively in violation of the spirit of the treaty, if not the letter. It's easy to claim to be peaceful and non-nuclear by delegating your defense to another, nuclear-armed state, in this case France.

but one of the reasons we have international multilateral institutions and norms is so that the voices of all get heard.

After China, India, the EU, the US and Indonesia, the largest state in the world is Uttar Pradesh. There are more subnational states above 20 million people than there are nations above 20 million people. I don't think giving the 40,000 people of Monaco a louder voice than the 230 million of Uttar Pradesh means that the voices of all get heard.

gen. 25, 1:34am

>10 prosfilaes:

Thanks. If you're arguing that the UN system is not perfect, then I have no disagreement with you. For a start, five rich powerful militaristic nations (or perhaps one should say formerly rich powerful militaristic nations in the case of UK and France) have permanent seats and veto powers on the UN Security Council. There are also legitimate questions to what extent governments actually represent the views of their people, as you mention in Uttar Pradesh, for example, but even more so in authoritarian states such as Russia and China. But nevertheless, every nation and every individual in the world is a stakeholder in this world, and we need to recognise the importance of trying to find ways of making their voices heard. A system where smaller weaker nations have a way of telling large powerful nations that nuclear weapons are unacceptable is part of that process, even if they have no way of enforcing their wishes on these large rogue states.

gen. 28, 9:24am

A few reflections from the Catholic stable...

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for International Justice and Peace Issues Urgent Call to Extend the New START Treaty USCCB)

As the nation looks to the transition of power and a new president, we must not lose sight of the fact that New START, the last treaty limiting the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, is slated to expire on February 5. “Extending the New START is essential to maintaining limits on the most dangerous nuclear weapons and is an existing means for needed progress toward nuclear disarmament...

Statement on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales)

On Friday 22 January 2021 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons comes into force. This is an historic milestone on the path to nuclear disarmament and an opportunity to refocus on genuine peacebuilding rooted in dialogue, justice, respect for human dignity, and care for our planet.In setting out the “moral and humanitarian imperative” for complete elimination of nuclear weapons, Pope Francis reminded us that “international peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation.” We urge support for the Treaty and repeat our call for the UK to forsake its nuclear arsenal...

Bishops of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on treaty banning nuclear weapons (Independent Catholic News)

Today is that special day that A-bomb survivors and countless people who hope for a peaceful world without nuclear weapons have longed for. It is the beginning of the final stage, and we share this joy. This treaty is the most effective measure for the abolition of nuclear weapons... However, there is one last major barrier that must be overcome before all countries join the treaty. That is the persistence of the deterrence theory held by nuclear-armed states and countries such as Japan under the so-called nuclear umbrella. These countries have not acknowledged, signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Japanese government argues that "it is necessary to maintain the deterrence of the United States with nuclear weapons under the Japan-US alliance." But as the only country to ever be attacked with atomic weapons, Japan should take the lead in signing and ratifying and play a role in promoting dialogue toward nuclear disarmament between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states...

Sign nuclear weapons treaty, Prime Minister urged (AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE Bishops Commission for Social Justice – Mission and Service)

The Bishop Delegate for Social Justice has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, urging Australia to join the countries who have signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons that comes into force today...