By Sarah Pattison
On Jan. 22, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons enters into force and becomes part of the canon of international law, after it was ratified by the required 50 states. According to Article 1 of the Treaty, states party to the Treaty are prohibited under any circumstances from any of the following activities:
- Develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;
- Transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly or indirectly;
- Receive the transfer of or control over nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices directly or indirectly;
- Use or threaten to use nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;
- Assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty;
- Seek or receive any assistance, in any way, from anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty;
- Allow any stationing, installation or deployment of any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in its territory or at any place under its jurisdiction or control.
Because the United States has neither signed nor ratified the treaty, it does not have the force of law in this country. But the treaty was approved by 122 nations in 2017, and has since been signed by 86 nations and ratified by 51. It is a clear reflection of the frustration and impatience of non-nuclear nations with nuclear weapons states that have failed to fulfill the promise they made “in good faith” in the Nonproliferation Treaty in 1970 to negotiate the cessation of the arms race and complete disarmament “at an early date.” While our country and other nuclear weapons states may attempt to sidestep the legal force of the Treaty, we cannot avoid the compelling moral power it carries.
Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, supported ratification of the treaty by co-authoring AJR 33, which was enacted in 2018. The Davis City Council passed a resolution in support of the Treaty on May 19, 2020.
How can you support the principles of the treaty? Write to your representatives to urge them to support the principles of the treaty. Go to ICANW.org/studio_2221 (International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons) to watch their live event, Studio 22.21 celebrating Entry Into Force of the Treaty on Friday, Jan. 22 at noon Pacific time. Post your support at Nuclear Ban Treaty EIF on Facebook.
Support other partner organizations such as orepa.org (Oak Ridge), BeyondTheBomb.org, WILPFUS.org (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom), IPPNW.org (International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War), www.nuclearban.us, www.dontbankonthebomb.com, and SacPSR.org (Physician for Social Responsibility Sacramento Chapter).
— Sarah Pattison is a member of Davis Committee Against Nuclear Weapons (https://www.facebook.com/DavisNoNukes/).