GENEVA – Today, the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), announced the government of Honduras completed its ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), bringing the treaty to the 50-state threshold required for entry into force. In 90 days, the TPNW will take effect as international law and prohibit participating parties from developing, possessing, testing, using, or threatening to use nuclear weapons, allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory, or assisting others to engage in such activities. Parties are also required to assist the victims of nuclear testing and use, and take action to restore contaminated environments.
In response to this important milestone, Derek Johnson, CEO of Global Zero, the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons, issued the following statement:
“We congratulate our fellow abolitionists at ICAN who have tirelessly championed the nuclear ban for years. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has helped catalyze global attention to the dangers of nuclear weapons and the actions by nuclear-armed states to preserve the status quo. Its entry into force reflects the United States’ retreat from leadership on disarmament and global security, and marks a new chapter in the effort to eradicate these dangerous weapons before they can be used again.
“The treaty’s entry into force comes at a precarious moment. The years-long stalemate on disarmament has given way to a new arms race and an appetite for brinksmanship. Tensions are high among the nine nuclear-armed nations, all of which are spending lavishly to expand, upgrade, or further operationalize their arsenals. And many of the established nuclear guardrails, achieved through great diplomatic effort during and after the Cold War, are being neglected or torn down.
“Nuclear weapons will not be abolished through legal or normative efforts alone. As the nuclear ban gathers force among non-nuclear nations, Global Zero will continue its parallel efforts in nuclear-armed states to champion bold steps that get us back on track to reducing and ultimately eradicating these weapons. Nuclear-armed governments must recognize that the security risks posed by nuclear weapons far outweigh any perceived benefits, and must cooperatively seek their elimination under effective verification. Extending the New START agreement, which expires in just three short months, and beginning negotiations for a new round of nuclear reductions is an obvious and immediate first step. But we need to think bigger to meet the fierce urgency of now.
“Overcoming the obstacles to eliminating nuclear weapons is almost exclusively the product of politics – domestic and geopolitical. Political movements can shape these factors and open pathways for ambitious steps forward. Once real disarmament gets back on track, rapid progress toward the complete, verified elimination of nuclear weapons becomes possible. The future we want – a world free from threats of mass destruction – is closer than you might think.”