External Affairs

UN Publishes First Draft of Nuclear Ban Treaty

A UN logo and flag are seen during the UN General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York September 25, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer/Files

Geneva: A UN conference on eliminating nuclear weapons published its first draft text on Monday, May 22, in the face of strong opposition from the US and other nuclear armed states.

The treaty would require ratification by 40 states to come into force. It could not strip current nuclear states of their arsenals but its backers seek to stigmatise nuclear arms, after similar campaigns against cluster munitions and landmines.

The full text of the draft treaty can be accessed here.

According to the Bulletin of Concerned Atomic Scientists:

The draft expressly forbids states party from using, testing, developing, producing, manufacturing, otherwise acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, transferring, or receiving control over nuclear weapons. It also bars them from assisting, encouraging, or inducing anyone to engage in any of those activities. Similar prohibitions can be found in other weapon-related treaties.

Under the draft, the states party would also undertake to prohibit and prevent the stationing, installation, or deployment of nuclear weapons in their territory or at any place under their jurisdiction or control. This provision, if retained, would be of particular significance to the five European nations that host US nuclear weapons on their soil: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey.

If a state that currently possesses nuclear weapons were to disarm and then join the treaty, it would need to conclude an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to verify that all its warheads had indeed been dismantled. A nuclear-armed state could, alternatively, join the treaty subject to a protocol agreed among the states party requiring the “verified and irreversible” elimination of its weaponry.