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Published on May 20th, 2020 | by Susi Snyder

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NPT at 50- some perspectives

A group of 16 states issued a joint communique to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the NPT, and 89 organisations joined a call for bold action as the Review Conference is delayed due to the global pandemic.

Both statements recall the importance of the nulcear Non Proliferation Treaty- and the agreements and plans to fully implement the treaty contained within.

The 16 States: Algeria, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa and Thailand, reiterated the justification for the NPT itself. Namely:

The deep concern at the continued threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the possibility of their catastrophic humanitarian impacts also underline the urgent need for significant and tangible progress. In this regard, we recall the concern expressed by all States Parties at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons as reflected in the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

Particularly at this time, when the world is undergoing a transformative crisis, it is imperative to find ways and actually prevent terrors even beyond what we are experiencing now.

From their development, through testing and use, nuclear weapons create victims at all stages. Indigenous peoples have been especially impacted by nuclear testing and uranium mining, and radiation has disproportionate gendered impacts. The damage caused by nuclear weapons has no national
borders.

A “limited” nuclear war, as one caused by 100 Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons detonated in cities between India and Pakistan, or the detonation of US nuclear weapons currently stored in Europe, would not only cause several million deaths and injuries, but the debris that rises to the atmosphere will reduce the temperature in the biosphere, affecting the production of staple grains -rice, wheat, corn and soy- resulting in a famine of 2 billion people worldwide, most from economically-challenged countries. The scarcity of food supplies and the ensuing speculation will increase the likelihood of armed conflicts and of a full-scale nuclear war which, aside from killing dozens of millions of people, will generate a nuclear winter through which many species, maybe even our own, will become extinct.

A nuclear war is preventable, and there are already commitments and agreements on how to bring about the end of nuclear weapons. Whether by fulfilling the promises laid out in the NPT, as the 16 states said:

It is now time that States Parties translate words into concrete actions backed by clear and agreed upon benchmarks and timelines. Only through such efforts can we look ahead towards a successful next 50 years of the NPT, improving on the important achievements of the last 50 years, which we presently commemorate.

In announcing the joint communique, New Zealand said:

We remain steadfast in our promotion of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the treaty which builds upon the NPT to include a global prohibition on nuclear weapons. 

Joining the TPNW is something all states can do to move towards a world without nuclear weapons. Belize has just joined others in taking this step, leaving only 13 more ratifications until the Treaty becomes international law. The TPNW is the only comprehensive agreement prohibiting nuclear weapons, and setting a pathway to their total elimination.

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About the Author

Susi is the project lead for the PAX No Nukes project, she also coordinates the Don’t Bank on the Bomb research and campaign. Read more about Susi here.



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