On 7th July 2017 an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations adopted a global agreement to ban nuclear weapons, known officially as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW or Treaty).
The TPNW entered into force on 22nd January 2021. As a result, the third anniversary of this landmark Treaty will be marked on 22nd January 2024.
The TPNW has become a key component of international law on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. It is effectively the only international agreement with the potential to rid the world of nuclear weapons and the catastrophic threat they pose to humanity and the environment.
Recently São Tomé and Príncipe, an island country located off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa, became the latest country to ratify the TPNW. At UN Headquarters in New York on 15th January 2024, the Minister of Justice of São Tomé and Príncipe, Her Excellency IIza Amado Vaz, deposited the instrument of ratification for the Treaty on behalf of the government.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) welcomed this latest ratification. ICAN’s Executive Director, Melissa Parke, stated: “It’s great news that Sao Tome and Principe has ratified the Treaty, which means it now has 70 states parties. As more and more countries join the TPNW they strengthen the new international norm it has created that makes nuclear weapons unacceptable. These are the responsible states in the international community on this issue, and we look forward to more ratifications and signatures in the year ahead.”
As of January 2024, a total of 93 countries have signed the TPNW, while 70 countries have now ratified or acceded to it.
Of the 16 countries comprising Oceania, 10 countries have already ratified the TPNW. Regrettably, Australia has so far failed to do so. This is despite the Albanese government’s commitment to sign and ratify the Treaty.1
Help turn this commitment into reality by signing the petition sponsored by ICAN Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation. The petition calls upon Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong to honour their party’s promise for Australia to join the Treaty without further delay.
The petition can be accessed here.
As of 16th February 2024, the petition had attracted 10,733 signatures.
1. In Oceania, the following 10 countries have already ratified the TPNW:
- Cook Islands
- New Zealand
*Photo: Minister of Justice of São Tomé and Príncipe, H.E. IIza Amado Vaz with David Nanopoulos, Chief of the Treaty Section at United Nations, and ICAN’s United Nations liaison, Seth Shelden, during the ratification ceremony.