Today, January 22, 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the Ban Treaty, enters into force. For the first time in history, nuclear weapons are illegal under international law.
Ploughshares Fund applauds this milestone in our efforts to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. We warmly congratulate the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and every global activist who has worked tirelessly towards the entry into force of the Ban Treaty.
In October 2020, the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons reached the required 50 states parties for its entry into force. Now, 90 days later and two days after Inauguration Day, the treaty is officially in place, cementing a categorical ban on nuclear weapons. To date, the treaty has 86 signatories in addition to the 51 ratifications.
"The Ban Treaty is consistent with long-standing US policy to seek a world free of nuclear weapons, and yet it was opposed by previous US administrations. We encourage President Biden to turn a new page by working with Ban Treaty states to take meaningful steps toward this shared goal," said Tom Collina, Director of Policy at Ploughshares Fund.
This historic achievement is a testament to the tireless work of civil society, including Ploughshares Fund grantee, ICAN. With determination and imagination, this alliance of small non-government groups first convinced over one hundred nations to sign the humanitarian pledge against nuclear weapons. Over the course of three years, ICAN and its network of global campaigners worked tirelessly to gather signatures and ratifications from states parties, ensuring the treaty would enter into force. Now, ICAN will promote adherence to and implementation of the Ban Treaty.
In 2017, ICAN received the Nobel Peace Prize "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."
ICAN is live streaming a special broadcast commemorating the Ban Treaty's entry into force today at 3pm ET / 9pm CET, available here icanw.org/entryintoforce
Decades after the Cold War, the US and Russia are on the brink of a new arms race, and the risk of nuclear war remains unacceptably high. The Ban Treaty’s entry into force will heighten awareness of the risks from nuclear weapons and propel support among policymakers and the public to work towards the complete and total elimination of nuclear weapons.