Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Signed

Yes, that’s the title of the newest draft treaty voted on by the General Assembly of the United Nations (which New Zealand voted for! Hah!). It was voted on Friday 7 June 2017 by a margin of 122-1, with the dissenting vote belonging to the Netherlands.

Now this doesn’t mean any of the Nuclear states actually voted or agreed to this treaty (they didn’t), nor does this mean any of them will actually follow the guidelines and expectations of the treaty. In fact they have publicly rebuked it, claiming

“We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it. Therefore, there will be no change in the legal obligations on our countries with respect to nuclear weapons.”

So that’s disappointing, if unsurprising.

Still what this represents is significant, if admittedly symbolic. All 122 nations involved have firmly claimed their position as fighting for a world free of Nuclear Weapons, and in turn rebuking nations such as the US, Russia, China, France and Britain of their failure to follow the laws and agreements they signed in regards to disarmament commitments. That all of these nations have collectively agreed to such a statement is significant, they represents a substantial part of the political and economic spheres, and while this will undoubtedly be ignored by said Nuclear powers, it remains a reaffirmation of many nations commitment to the end of Nuclear weapons.

This ban, which will be signed on September 20, 2017, may even be capable of having an impact on international law, or at least on the norms of the world in regards to Nuclear weapons, says International Human Rights Lawyer Bonnie Docherty. This in turn could impact international law, if further built upon.

So hey, nice to see some of us can get along huh?


United Nations documents: Draft Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
Politico: UN signs Nuclear Prohibition treaty


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