The Treaty hits 50 ratifications!

Oct 24, 2020 | News

History was made today as the number of countries ratifying the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons reached 50. Honduras ratified the treaty overnight bringing the world a step closer to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Just a day ago, on United Nations Day, Jamaica and Nauru ratified the treaty.

This milestone means the treaty will become international law on January 22, 2021, increasing pressure on nuclear armed states and other countries to support the treaty. It now has 84 signatories and 50 states parties.

Entry-into-force will cement the illegality of nuclear weapons in international law. This change will influence the behaviour of states, even those which don’t join the treaty, interrupt the flow of funds to nuclear arms producers, stimulate debate and increase pressure on treaty hold-outs.

Why is entry-into-force important?

  • All countries that have ratified the treaty will be bound by it.
  • It establishes clearly that nuclear weapons are inhumane, unacceptable, and now illegal, and that no state should possess, use or threaten to use them.
  • It puts Australia out of step with international law on nuclear weapons.
  • A ban treaty can change the behaviour of countries that haven’t joined, as demonstrated by the bans on landmines and cluster munitions.
  • More financial institutions will divest from companies that produce nuclear weapons, in line with policies to exclude weapons banned by international law.
  • It creates pressure and momentum for more nuclear weapons abolition action.

Just days before the 50th ratification, the US tried to obstruct the treaty’s progress by urging states parties to withdraw. This brazen, and unsuccessful, attempt to undermine international law demonstrates significant desperation to prevent the ban taking effect.

Our next step is to ensure Australia joins this growing global movement by signing and ratifying the treaty. In doing so, our government would end the dangerous fallacy of “extended nuclear deterrence”. Far from protecting us, nuclear weapons threaten our very existence.

The Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese MP, and Shadow Foreign Minister, Senator Penny Wong, issued a press release on Sunday 25th October, welcoming the 50th ratification and reaffirming Labor’s commitment to joining the treaty in government.



For more detail on the impact of entry-into-force on Australia, read our briefing paper.

To take action, click here.