WE CELEBRATE THE PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
On 22 January 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force. The treaty was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The countries that have atomic weapons, the United States, United Kingdom, France, China and Russia (permanent members of the Security Council of the UN, with right to a veto) and the NATO countries, including Spain, did not attend the meeting, did not participate in voting, and have not ratified or signed the treaty.
According to Antonio Guterres, TPNW “has been the culmination of a worldwide movement.”
Between 6 and 9 August 1945, the United States President Harry S. Truman, ordered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These are the only two atomic attacks in history. More than 246,000 persons died, the majority civilians, a high percentage of whom have not yet been identified, and the bombing has continued causing illnesses to this day.
The Second World War had been almost won by the Allies and dropping the bombs accelerated the end, which led to the beginning of the cold war, a period of intense military nuclearization among the principal world powers.
One of the oldest objectives of the UN has been to eliminate nuclear weapons worldwide. It was the first resolution approved by the General Assembly, in 1946, and has been part of their agenda since 1959, along with complete disarmament.
It has also been one of the objectives of civil society
In the decade of the 1950s in Japan, the Nihon Hidankyō was formed, a confederation of victims and antinuclear activists of the country. They said: The use of nuclear weapons is something that was unacceptable in the past, is in the present and will continue to be in the future.
In the United Kingdom in 1957, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was formed, an organization that fought for unilateral disarmament of the United Kingdom, as well as internationally, with tighter world regulations through agreements. Since 1958, CND has annually organized an Easter march against nuclear weapons from London to Aldermaston. Also in the United Kingdom, the permanent pacifist encampment of women of Greenham Common in Berkshire (in the south of England) was formed and lasted from 1981 to 2000. It was established initially to protest the nuclear weapons at the Royal Air Force Base, RAF, at Greenham Common, but later they also denounced the connection with climate change, wars, commerce in weapons and the defense of human rights, among others.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN, is a global coalition of civil society that works to promote adhesion to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and its complete implementation. It was founded in 2007 and includes 468 social organizations in 101 countries. The organization received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 “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.”
In the 7 July 2017 meeting of the United Nations, the Nobel prize was an impetus for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. As of 20 September 2017, the TPNW, had received the support of 122 countries, ratification by 84 and signing by 52, a sufficient number for its validation. In this way, it came into force on Friday, 22 January 2021. This treaty is the first legally binding international agreement that comprehensively prohibits nuclear weapons with the objective of their total elimination.
Women in Black hope that the TPNW will serve for:
There being more pressure on the nuclear powers to finally carry out their former promise for disarmament and adhere to the treaty, which obliges immediate deactivation and to pay reparations to the victims and the nations affected by their use, as well as to restore the ecosystems damaged.
The continuation of social pressure so that:
• The government of Spain support, ratify and sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as it is the only morally acceptable position with respect to a weapon capable of causing a humanitarian and climatic catastrophe. That the government be consistent and oppose nuclear weapons and in this way be on the side of a worldwide humanitarian posture.
• Financial entities disinvest in the nuclear weapons industry. In Spain, between 2017 and 2019 banks like BBVA and Santander destined at least 5 billion Euros to finance enterprises that manufacture or maintain nuclear weapons.
• We keep in mind that the arms race and the sale of arms are directly responsible for the persistence of the current wars, remembering that our country is the 7th in sales worldwide.
Decades of social activism have achieved what many people thought impossible: the prohibition of nuclear weapons. In addition, we must also celebrate having achieved that they are now illegal.
This accomplishment is also a new impetus to continue working for the United Nations to declare that wars are illegal, because all and each of them are a major disaster for humanity and the ecosystem. This way, the UN will achieve another objective that has been on their agenda since 1959, complete global disarmament.
WiB Madrid, 28th of February 2021
Translation: Trisha Novak, USA