50 nations sign United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Sep 22, 2017 12:42 IST
Signing ceremony at UN Headquarters. Image Credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Fifty countries on 20 September 2017 inked United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Brazil was the first country to sign onto the ban, followed by nations from Algeria to Venezuela.

Fifty states as different as Indonesia and Ireland had put their names to the treaty; others can sign later if they like. Guyana, Thailand and the Vatican also have already ratified the treaty, which needs 50 ratifications to take effect among the nations that back it.

Under the terms and conditions of the treaty, the countries signing it would be barred from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, otherwise acquiring, possessing or stockpiling nuclear weapons under any circumstances.

Under its terms, non-nuclear nations agreed not to pursue nukes in exchange for a commitment by the five original nuclear powers the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China to move toward nuclear disarmament and to guarantee other states’ access to peaceful nuclear technology for producing energy.

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Key highlights

The treaty covers the full range of nuclear-weapons-related activities, prohibiting undertaking by any State party to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

The prohibitions also include any undertaking to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

The treaty will enter into force 90 days after the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession has been deposited.

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Background

The United Nations in July 2017 had announced that the Member States adopted a legally-binding treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. It is the first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty to be concluded in more than 20 years.

The treaty is described as a historic achievement. However, the nuclear-armed states have dismissed the ban as unrealistic, arguing it will have no impact on reducing the global stockpile of 15000 nuclear weapons.

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