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Nuclear ban treaty reaches 50!

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has reached the 50 ratifications required for its entry into force!

Image credit: WILPF
Ray Acheson
27 October 2020

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has reached the 50 ratifications required for its entry into force!

Honduras deposited its instrument of ratification on 24 October, United Nations Day, which marks the 75th anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. The governments of Jamaica and Nauru deposited their instruments of ratification on 23 October, the eve of this anniversary. Their collective efforts mean the TPNW has reached the requisite 50 ratifications to enter into force, which will happen in 90 days, on 22 January 2021.

This is truly a historic moment for nuclear abolition, achieved only by the relentless efforts of generations of activists and diplomats around the world. In January, nuclear weapons will be unlawful to possess, develop, deploy, test, use threaten to use, or assist in any way, shape, or form for TPNW states parties. Nuclear weapons will be on the same legal footing as biological and chemical weapons, as landmines and cluster bombs, as blinding laser weapons. Just as chemical weapon stockpiling and use is so rightly condemned, so too will be the possession of nuclear weapons.

Speaking at the First Committee side event where Jamaica and Nauru announced their ratifications on Friday, 23 October, Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow said that when she heard the news of the TPNW’s imminent entry into force, she found herself communing with the spirits of hundreds of thousands of people who lost their lives in Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

I was immediately in conversation with these beloved souls — my sister, my nephew Eiji, other dear family members, my classmates, all the children and innocent people who perished. I was reporting to the dead, sharing this good news first with them, because they paid the ultimate price with their precious lives. Like many survivors, I made a vow that their deaths would not be in vain and to warn the world about the danger of nuclear weapons, to make sure that no one else suffers as we have suffered.

Condemning the “barbaric behavior of nine nations who continue to develop more horrendous weapons, prepared to repeat nuclear massacres,” Thurlow rejoiced that so many activists and governments persisted in spite of being confronted by indifference and ignorance; in spite of being ridiculed by nuclear-armed and nuclear-dependent states. “Nuclear abolitionists everywhere can be incredibly encouraged and empowered by this new legal status. Now, with greater intensity and purpose, we will push forward.” While we have a long path to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons, she noted, “with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, we can be certain that that beautiful day will dawn.”

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Ray Acheson Speaking for Reaching Critical Will at a conference

Ray Acheson

Ray Acheson is the Director of WILPF’s Disarmament Programme, which provides analysis, research, and advocacy across a range of disarmament issues from an antimilitarist feminist perspective. Acheson represents WILPF on the steering committees of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, and the International Network on Explosive Weapons.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

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WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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Demilitarisation

WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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