50th country, a UN official said Saturday, allowing the text
proponents call historic to enter into force after 90 days.
While nuclear-armed powers have not signed up to the treaty,
activists who have pushed for its enactment hold out hope that it will
nonetheless prove to be more than symbolic and have a gradual
Honduras became the 50th country to ratify the treaty.
“Today is a victory for humanity, and a promise of a safer future,”
Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC), said in a statement.
Other NGOs also welcomed the news, including the International
Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition that won the
2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its key role in bringing the treaty to
“Honduras just ratified the Treaty as the 50th state, triggering
entry into force and making history,” ICAN said in a tweet.
The 75th anniversary of the nuclear bomb attacks on Nagasaki and
Hiroshima, marked in August, saw a wave of countries ratify the treaty
in recent months.
They have included Nigeria, Malaysia, Ireland, Malta and Tuvalu.
Thailand, Mexico, South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Vietnam
and the Vatican are among the countries that had already ratified it.
It is now expected to enter into force in January 2021.
– ‘A new chapter’ –
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons — which bans the
use, development, production, testing, stationing, stockpiling and
threat of use of such weapons — was adopted by the UN General
Assembly in July 2017 with the approval of 122 countries.
Eighty-four states have since signed it, though not all have
ratified the text.
The clutch of nuclear-armed states, including the United States,
Britain, France, China and Russia, have not signed the treaty.
However, campaigners hope that it coming into force will have the
same impact as previous international treaties on landmines and
cluster munitions, bringing a stigma to their stockpiling and use, and
thereby a change in behavior even in countries that did not sign up.
ICAN said in a statement that “we can expect companies to stop
producing nuclear weapons and financial institutions to stop investing
in nuclear weapon producing companies.”
The coalition’s executive director Beatrice Fihn called it “a new
chapter for nuclear disarmament.”
“Decades of activism have achieved what many said was impossible:
nuclear weapons are banned.”
Nuclear-armed states argue their arsenals serve as a deterrent and
say they remain committed to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,
which seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
Separately, Russia and the United States have been seeking to break
an impasse in long-running talks aimed at extending a nuclear arms
deal between them.
The two sides have struggled to find common ground over the fate of
the New START treaty, which limits both sides to 1,550 deployed
warheads but is due to expire next February.
While the US wants to rework the deal to include China and cover
new kinds of weapons, Russia is willing to extend the agreement for
five years without any new conditions — and each side has repeatedly
shot down the other’s proposals.
The agreement was signed in 2010 at the peak of hopes for a “reset”
in relations between the two countries.
Together with the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces
(INF) treaty, it was considered a centerpiece of international arms
However, the United States withdrew from the INF last year after
accusing Moscow of violations.