GENEVA – Today, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) enters into force. The TPNW will take effect as international law and prohibits 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. To date, 51 nations have ratified the treaty, although none possess or rely on nuclear weapons.
In response, Derek Johnson, CEO of Global Zero, the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons, issued the following statement:
“Global Zero welcomes the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The ban marks an historic milestone in the decades-long struggle to eradicate nuclear weapons and is a testament to the power of grassroots movements.
“While far from universal, the Treaty’s entry into force comes at a time of renewed optimism: the political transfer of power in the United States has opened a new opportunity for nuclear arms control and disarmament. In its first 24 hours, the Biden administration has offered to extend New START, the only binding legal restraint remaining on U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, for five years. Extension would establish a new basecamp from which both governments could restore much-needed leadership and cooperation to confront the growing dangers posed by nuclear weapons. Greater demand for progress on disarmament, as manifested by the TPNW, can only strengthen this effort.
“With the ban treaty established as international law, Global Zero will continue its efforts in nuclear-armed states to champion bold steps to confront the urgent risks of nuclear conflict and make real progress toward disarmament. Extending New START is only the first step, and there’s no time to waste. The American and Russian governments need to head back to the negotiating table and pursue a serious and accelerated process to reduce nuclear stockpiles, one that can expand to include all nuclear-armed nations. From there we can strike out for the mountain top: the total elimination of all nuclear weapons everywhere.”