Nuclear Ban Treaty and UN Resolution 1 (1)

UN Res 1 (1) Commemoration event: January 25. Click here for information.

On January 22, 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will enter-into-force, making it illegal for States Parties to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons. This is an important measure to support the achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

The treaty is supported by a large number of non-nuclear countries, but opposed by all of the nuclear armed and allied states. They have not joined the Treaty, and as such will not be bound by it. However, they are bound by customary international law requiring nuclear disarmament, the development of which dates back to the very first resolution of the UN General Assembly. UNGA Res 1 (I), which was adopted by consensus, established a commission of the UN Security Council to ensure the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.

This goal of nuclear abolition is included as an obligation of States Parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty in Article 6 of the NPT, and was affirmed as a universal obligation by the International Court of Justice in 1996.

The entry-into-force of the TPNW on January 22 and the 75th anniversary of the UNGA resolution on January 24, 2021, provide opportunities to remind the nuclear armed and allied states of this obligation and to build political momentum for its implementation.

In addition, during this third week of January 2021, Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the new US President at which time he will receive the ‘nuclear football‘ and nuclear weapons launch codes, and the UN Secretary-General will open the Conference on Disarmament with a keynote speech on disarmament. This is usually also the week when the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announces the new setting of the Doomsday Clock, indicating the existential risks to humanity from nuclear weapons, climate change and other critical issues.

UNFOLD ZERO encourages parliamentarians, governments and civil society to highlight these events, and in particular the entry-into-force of the TPNW and 75th anniversary of UNGA Res 1(1), as a time to take action for nuclear disarmament and as a time to highlight the important role of the United Nations in facilitating nuclear disarmament.

Actions you could take include:

  1. Endorse Protect People and the Planet: Appeal for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World;
  2. Celebrate the entry-into-force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the 75th anniversary of UN Resolution 1 (1);
  3. Join or connect with Youth Fusion, the new, youth-led platform of actions and events for a nuclear-weapon-free world;
  4. Support Securing our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament, the disarmament agenda released by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres;
  5. Send your legislators/parliamentarians the link to Assuring our Common Future, parliamentary handbook in support of disarmament for security and sustainable development, to inspire them to take action;
  6. Celebrate the conclusion of the UN Human Rights Committee that the threat and use of nuclear weapons violate the Right to Life (and may amount to a crime under international law).

Please let us know what action you take, as we may be able to support with follow-up action.