The first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons has entered into force, a historic step marred by the lack of signatures from the world’s major nuclear powers.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons became part of international law on Jan 22, terminating a decades-long campaign aimed at preventing a repetition of the United States atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII.
The treaty seeks to prohibit the use, development, production, testing, stationing, stockpiling and the threat of nuclear weapons. It also requires parties to promote the treaty to other countries.
But getting all nations to ratify the treaty requiring them to never own such weapons seems daunting, if not impossible, in the current global climate.
When the treaty was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in July 2017, more than 120 approved it. But none of the nine countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons — the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — supported it, and neither did the 30-nation NATO alliance.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the treaty demonstrated support for multilateral approaches to nuclear disarmament.
“Nuclear weapons pose growing dangers and the world needs urgent action to ensure their elimination and prevent the catastrophic human and environmental consequences any use would cause,” he said in a video message.