Banning nuclear weapons

Despite the growing recognition of the risk and consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, nuclear-armed states and those in military alliances with them continue to rely upon and invest in nuclear weapons. However, the renewed focus on the humantiarian consequences of nuclear weapons has opened space for consideration of the most appropriate political and legal responses to the existence of nuclear weapons.

WILPF, as a steering group member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), has successfully advocated for the negotiation of a legally-binding treaty banning nuclear weapons. A new legal instrument prohibiting these weapons could help facilitate their elimination. It would have a significant impact in both normative as well as well practical terms.

In 2016, the UN General Assembly decided by overwhelming majority to negotiate a treaty banning nuclelar weapons. The negotiations are now underway! They began 27 to 31 March and will continue from 15 June to 7 July 2017. We will monitor this process and help facilitate civil society involvement. In the meantime, please check out Reaching Critical Will's publications on banning nuclear weapons, and join ICAN!

Relevant publications

banning-nuclear-weapons-coverBanning nuclear weapons: principles and elements for a legally binding instrument

This discussion paper outlines Reaching Critical Will’s view of important principles, prohibitions, and positive obligations that should be included in a treaty banning nuclear weapons.


tbnw-coverA treaty banning nuclear weapons: developing a legal framework for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons

This paper, published jointly by Reaching Critical Will and Article 36, looks at possible principles and provisions of a treaty banning nuclear weapons; how it could be accomplished; and its potential normative and practical impacts.

filling-the-legal-gap-coverFilling the legal gap: the prohibition of nuclear weapons

This table overleaf from Reaching Critical Will and Article 36 summaries the gaps in existing treaty law related to nuclear weapons that could be filled by a treaty banning nuclear weapons.


bnw-effective-measure-coverBanning nuclear weapons: an effective measure for disarmament

This paper explores the effective measures for nuclear disarmament presented by the New Agenda Coalition in its 2014 NPT working paper and argues that in the current context the most effective and achievable measure for nuclear disarmament is a treaty banning nuclear weapons.


npt-banPreventing collapse: the NPT and a ban on nuclear weapons

This paper examines the complimentarity between the NPT and a ban on nuclear weapons. It argues that rather than constituting a challenge to the NPT, a process to ban nuclear weapons that arises from the discussion around the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons has the potential to prevent the NPT’s collapse.


unspeakable1Unspeakable suffering: the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons

This publication examines the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and is aimed for civil society actors, academics, and governments that are interested in approaching weapons negotiations with a humanitarian lens.