The Nobel Women’s Initiative welcomes the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and congratulates the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and others on their successful work to bring about this treaty. 122 states formally adopted the Treaty text today at the United Nations following negotiations in March, June and July.
The Treaty recognizes the grave threat posed by the existence of nuclear weapons, the moral imperative of states to protect their people from nuclear detonation and the ethical responsibility to act for their elimination. The Nobel Women’s Initiative is pleased to see that the Treaty highlights the effects of nuclear weapons on women and girls and recognizes that the use and testing of nuclear weapons has had a disproportionate impact on Indigenous peoples. The Treaty’s commitment to supporting and strengthening the effective participation of women in nuclear disarmament is especially welcome.
The negotiation of this treaty has been successful because it focuses on the humanitarian impact of this weapon. It is a sterling example of humanitarian disarmament, which also produced the treaties banning landmines and cluster munitions.
Nine countries possess over 15,000 nuclear weapons throughout the world. The detonation of a single nuclear warhead has the potential to kill millions of people. While it is disappointing that UN member states who possess nuclear weapons—and many states under what is known as a nuclear umbrella—did not participate in the negotiations, we have seen in the past that when disarmament treaties set high standards, strong international norms follow. The Treaty will impact the behaviour of nuclear-armed states as well as many of their allies that currently claim protection from those nuclear weapons—including states that host nuclear weapons on their territory.
Just as the world has done with all other weapons of mass destruction, today 122 states unequivocally rejected nuclear weapons. All countries should seize this opportunity to take a meaningful step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons and towards a more peaceful and just world.