Nuclear weapon ban treaty opens for signature

NEW YORK, 20 September 2017

On 20 September, the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at the United Nations in New York. 42 states signed the Treaty during the opening ceremony; the number of states that have since signed continues to grow. As of 20 September, three states have also ratified the Treaty: Guayana, Holy See, and Thailand. 50 ratifications are necessary for the Treaty's entry into force. For a full list of signatories and ratifications, please see the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

ICAN's executive director Beatrice Fihn delivered remarks on behalf of the campaign, of which WILPF is an international steering group member, at the signing ceremony. "Progress doesn’t just happen when everyone is ready, it must be fought for, and someone has to be brave and lead," ICAN emphasised. "And we are seeing leadership here today. The states that negotiated. The states that will sign here today and over the weeks ahead. You are the states that are showing moral leadership – in a world that desperately needs moral leadership today."

The signing ceremony comes only two months after the Treaty was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 7 July 2017. It is anticipated that the Treaty, while not currently supported by nuclear-armed states, will have significant practical and normative impacts on nuclear weapons.

"This treaty is an incredible new piece of international law, achieved despite the opposition of the most militarised and powerful countries in the world," said Ray Acheson, director of WILPF's disarmament programme Reaching Critical Will. "It marks a turning point in the struggle against these genocidal weapons, in which the vast majority of governments and civil society have united to create law that can change policies and practices of nuclear deterrence and help facilitate nuclear disarmament."