Why the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is so important.


The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) includes a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities.


These include undertakings not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons. The Treaty also prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons on national territory and the provision of assistance to any State in the conduct of prohibited activities. States parties will be obliged to prevent and suppress any activity prohibited under the TPNW undertaken by persons or on territory under its jurisdiction or control.


HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE ATOMIC TEST SURVIVOR COMMUNITY?


The Treaty also obliges States parties to provide adequate assistance to individuals affected by the use or testing of nuclear weapons, as well as to take necessary and appropriate measure of environmental remediation in areas under its jurisdiction or control contaminated as a result of activities related to the testing or use of nuclear weapons.


The first sentence is key to the Atomic Veteran community, the parties must provide adequate assistance to individuals affected by the use or testing of nuclear weapons.


Article 7 of the Treaty states:


International cooperation and assistance


1. Each State Party shall cooperate with other States Parties to facilitate the

implementation of this Treaty.

2. In fulfilling its obligations under this Treaty, each State Party shall have the right to seek and receive assistance, where feasible, from other States Parties.

3. Each State Party in a position to do so shall provide technical, material and financial assistance to States Parties affected by nuclear-weapons use or testing, to further the implementation of this Treaty.

4. Each State Party in a position to do so shall provide assistance for the victims of the use or testing of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

5. Assistance under this Article may be provided, inter alia, through the United Nations system, international, regional or national organizations or institutions, non-governmental organizations or institutions, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, or national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, or on a bilateral basis.

6. Without prejudice to any other duty or obligation that it may have under international law, a State Party that has used or tested nuclear weapons or any other nuclear explosive devices shall have a responsibility to provide adequate assistance to affected States Parties, for the purpose of victim assistance and environmental remediation.


Victim assistance is the key aspect to the importance of the TPNW to the Atomic Veterans and those affected by the testing program across the world.


In the UK, the government issued a statement regarding the Treaty in 2017:


"The UK has not taken part in the negotiation of this treaty, and does not intend to sign, ratify or become party to it. The treaty will therefore not be binding on the UK. Furthermore, the UK would not accept any argument that this treaty can constitute a development of customary international law binding on the UK or on other non-parties. Importantly, states possessing nuclear weapons have not taken part in the negotiations. As has been made clear, the UK, as a Nuclear Weapons State, has been pursuing a step by step approach to nuclear disarmament consistent with the NPT and its other treaty commitments."


The full statement can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-statement-on-treaty-prohibiting-nuclear-weapons


CONCLUSION


The treaty needs 4 further signatories to come into force :

(picture courtesy of Scottish CND)


The Atomic survivor community will benefit from this treaty, the indigenous people whose lives and homes were devastated by the tests, the veterans and civilians who took part, whose families are suffering today will benefit. Yet the UK, USA, France and Russia, the main testing countries, refuse to sign the treaty. The Atomic community know why they are refusing, they would need to provide adequate assistance to affected States Parties, for the purpose of victim assistance and environmental remediation.


They would need to admit that their actions caused health and environmental issues which are irreversible and caused the suffering to hundred of thousands of people. No Atomic Veteran wants to see another testing program undertaken, they do not want anyone to suffer as they have.


LABRATS are an official ICAN partner, full details of their work can be viewed here:

https://www.icanw.org


You can read the full Treaty here: http://undocs.org/A/CONF.229/2017/8

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