- More than 120 nations adopted the first international treaty banning nuclear weapons on Friday at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The initiative—led by Austria, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and New Zealand—was approved by 122 votes, with only the Netherlands opposed, and Singapore abstaining. The nine countries generally recognized as possessing nuclear weapons—the U.S., Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel—were noticeably absent from the negotiations, as were most members of NATO.
- The treaty will be open for signature to all States at UN Headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017, and enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by at least 50 countries.
- The most central provision is Article 1(d) which categorically prohibits the use of nuclear weapons, or a threat to that effect, under all circumstances. The ICJ’s 1996 advisory opinion was that the use of these deadly arms, or even a threat, was generally illegal.
- Moreover, the nuclear weapons treaty marks the completion of a process to enforce an international ban on all categories of weapons of mass destruction following the prohibition of biological and chemical arms.
- Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970. Then in 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely. A total of 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States that are the permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.