The UN treaty banning nuclear weapons will be able to enter into force

The major nuclear powers, however, did not sign the UN ban treaty.

Here, the Sellafield nuclear site near Whitehaven, UK, February 23, 2017 REUTERS / Phil Noble

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The international treaty banning nuclear weapons has been ratified by a fiftieth country, the UN announced on Saturday, October 24, which will allow the entry into force in 90 days of this text that its promoters consider historic.

Approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 2017, the text has not, however, been signed by the main nuclear powers.


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Although the treaty has not been signed by

the main holders of atomic weapons

, pro-abolition activists hope that its entry into force

will be more than symbolic


It was necessary for a fiftieth country to ratify it for it to enter into force, which Honduras did.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, celebrated the event.

It is " 

the culmination of a global movement to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons,

 " according to a statement from its spokesperson.

This represents an important commitment towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, which remains the top priority of the United Nations in the field of disarmament,

 " the statement added.

Non-governmental organizations also welcomed the event, including the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

This NGO, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its role in the drafting of the treaty, hailed “




Can we have your attention?


🙌 The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons just reached 50 ratifications.

On 22 January 2021, the ban on nuclear weapons will come into force.

The #nuclearban is here.

  ICAN (@nuclearban) October 24, 2020


Today is a victory for humanity and the promise of a more secure future

 ,” said Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in a statement.

Prohibition of use, development, testing, storage or threat of use


Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

prohibits the use, development, production, testing, stationing, stockpiling and threat of use of such weapons.

It was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in July 2017 with the support of 122 countries.

And it has now been signed by 84 countries.

Among those who have recently ratified are Nigeria, Malaysia, Ireland, Malta, Tuvalu.

After the fiftieth ratification, that of Honduras, the treaty is due to enter into force on January 22, 2021, the UN said.

No signature from Washington, Paris, London, Moscow or Beijing

But the main countries with nuclear weapons, including the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, have not signed it.

Pro-abolition activists hope its ratification will have the same impact as previous international treaties banning landmines and cluster munitions: stigmatizing the possession and use of nuclear weapons, which could lead to behavior change even from non-signatory countries.

Weapons of deterrence, defend states with atomic power

Nuclear-weapon states, for their part, claim that their arsenals serve as a deterrent and say they are committed to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which aims to prevent the dissemination of nuclear weapons to other countries.


Too many people accept nuclear weapons as inevitable components of the international security architecture

 ,” said Peter Maurer.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons allows us to imagine a world free from these inhuman weapons as an attainable goal

 ," he added.

With this success, we have taken an important step towards our goal of a world without atomic weapons

 ", wrote on Twitter the Austrian conservative chancellor Sebastian Kurz, recalling the " 

decisive role

 " of his country alongside other nations for defend this text.

Only one Russian-American anti-nuclear treaty in force

This step, for the moment extremely symbolic, takes place in a context of

strong tensions on the issue of disarmament



Treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces

(INF) signed in 1987 between Washington and Moscow, which resulted in the destruction of around 2,700 missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers, has been de facto dead since 2019, to the chagrin Europeans.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of it

after accusing Russia of not respecting it.

Since then, the US-Russian New Start treaty concluded in 2010, which expires in early 2021, is considered the last nuclear deal still in force, containing the arsenals of the two countries below their Cold War peaks.

The two countries have just agreed on the principle of a one-year extension, time to settle the substantive issues.

►Also read

: [Analysis] The slow erosion of arms control agreements

(With AFP)


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