Nuclear Weapons Now Illegal, As UN Treaty Outlawing Them Takes Effect

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With at least, 50 countries have ratified the ban of nuclear weapons, the UN treaty outlawing the big bomb went into effect on Friday.

While this might seem like a big deal but the ban is more symbolic as the treaty has not been ratified by the United States and the world’s other major nuclear powers.

“For the first time in history, nuclear weapons are going to be illegal in international law,” NPR quotes Elayne Whyte, Costa Rica’s former U.N. ambassador who oversaw the treaty’s creation, as saying.

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According to a report by NPR, the ban will prohibit the production, testing, acquisition, possession, or stockpiling of nuclear weapons by countries. It also prevents the transfer of arms and prohibits signatories from allowing the stationing, installation, or deployment of any nuclear explosive device within their territories.

The Treaty was introduced in the summer of 2017 on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in hopes to curb the world’s deadliest armament in the world. Even then, though, it was seen more as a moral declaration than an enforceable prohibition.

The treaty is a 96-page reminder to states with nuclear weapons that ‘they need to be moving forward’ with disarmament, Whyte said.

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There are 86 signatories to the treaty, officially. In 51 of those member states, it was ratified. The Holy See, New Zealand, Thailand, and Austria were among the early signatories. The treaty has been ratified or accepted by countries including Belize, Benin, and Ireland in the past year.

Photo by of ICAN

The treaty sets the goal of achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world, saying it would serve “both national and collective security interests.” Any use of nuclear weapons, it adds, “would be contrary to the rules of international law” for armed conflict.

However, unless the big nuclear powers like the U.S. sign the treaty, does not the threat of nuclear war loom large?

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