News

50 Nations Sign the Nuclear Ban Treaty

Fifty nations signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, Sept. 20.

Historic— Fifty nations signed the nuclear ban treaty at the U.N. Headquarters, New York, Sept. 20. Photo: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images.


NEW YORK, Sept. 20—Fifty nations signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on Sept. 20 at the U.N. Headquarters in New York. The international treaty, officially adopted by 122 nations on July 7, would prohibit the possession, development, testing, use and threat of use of nuclear arms.

“Today, we rightfully celebrate a milestone,” said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who opened the signing ceremony for the nuclear ban treaty.

Brazil was the first country to sign the treaty, which will enter into force 90 days after 50 U.N. member states ratify it.

Absent from the signing ceremony were the five permanent U.N. Security Council seat holders— England, China, Russia, France and the U.S.— which all possess nuclear weapons. Japan also did not endorse the treaty.

“The essence of the issue is not the confrontation between states that possess nuclear weapons and those that do not; it is the confrontation between the threat of nuclear weapons and humanity’s right to life.”

With some 15,000 nuclear weapons in existence today, Mr. Guterres emphasized the hard road ahead. “We cannot allow these doomsday weapons to endanger our world and our children’s future,” he said. “I look forward to working with you in fulfilling that shared vision.”

A Sept. 21 SGI press release announced SGI President Ikeda’s call for the treaty to be entered into force early. He urged Japan, the only nation to have experienced the use of nuclear weapons in wartime, to join the treaty. Nuclear weapons, he said, can no longer be debated and determined only on the basis of any one country’s security needs. “The peace of humankind as a whole and the collective right to life of all the world’s people must be the starting point—the foundation from which we work to eliminate nuclear weapons and develop a new security paradigm for the 21st century,” President Ikeda wrote. “The essence of the issue is not the confrontation between states that possess nuclear weapons and those that do not; it is the confrontation between the threat of nuclear weapons and humanity’s right to life” (www.sgi.org).

 

(p. 12)