“86 countries have already signed up to the Treaty, but shamefully the British government will not even engage with this historical agreement.”
By Sara Medi Jones, Campaigns Director at the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)
Having campaigned for decades for the global abolition of nuclear weapons, CND supporters had reason to celebrate in 2021 when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force. This United Nations treaty was supported by most of the world’s states and makes nuclear weapons illegal in the countries that sign it.
86 countries have already signed up to the Treaty, but shamefully the British government will not even engage with this historical agreement. There was a particularly memorable moment when the UK representative at the UN stood alongside former US President Trump’s Ambassador outside the building denouncing the talks (which eventually led to the agreement), while the more mature countries got on with the business of negotiating inside.
CND groups are already taking matters into their own hands in regards to the TPNW by getting local councils to support the Treaty and building support from the ground up. And now we’re asking our supporters to help us with a campaign to get the UK government to engage with the global majority who support the Treaty.
Countries that have ratified the TPNW will meet for the first time in Vienna this summer. The conference – referred to as 1MSP – was due to take place in March but has been postponed due to Covid-19 related practicalities. As a non-signatory to the Treaty, the UK can still attend as an observer. NATO states Norway and Germany have already indicated they will be doing so, despite the latter ‘hosting’ US nuclear bombs.
CND’s campaign – Talks not Bombs – calls on the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to commit to going to the conference in Vienna. Last week in Parliament she ignored a question from CND Vice-President Jeremy Corbyn MP on whether she would attend. We must make her re-consider.
We have a page on our website with all the different ways you can get involved, including contacting the Foreign Secretary directly. Join our webinar which has the President of 1MSP, Alexander Kmentt, as the guest speaker. He sees “no reason not to engage constructively with the international community on these very serious arguments”. There is a digital toolkit available with graphics to use on social media, and a poster you can print out and display.
There is no reason for the UK not to go along, especially as it proclaims to want – and is legally committed to working towards – a world without nuclear weapons. The government keeps insisting it wants multilateral nuclear disarmament – what could be more multilateral than a treaty supported by most of the world?