page title icon What is the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons?

The treaty is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively ban nuclear weapons, with the goal of creating a world free from nuclear weapons. The treaty came out of a process called the ‘Humanitarian initiative’ which looked at the impact of any deliberate or accidental use of nuclear weapons for the whole of humanity. The testimony of Faith and Civil society groups such as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent were important in establishing that there could be no adequate response to the detonation of a modern nuclear weapon.

Film produced by the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement pushing for a global ban

Following a similar process to the successful treaties banning Land Mines and Chemical Weapons, the conferences were held by the United Nations and sought the involvement of all states in agreeing the treaty text. On the 7th of July 2017, 122 nations (the vast majority of world countries) voted to approve the wording of the treaty and it opened for signatures that September.

In recognition of the work of this global campaign the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) of which CND is a member, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

On the 24th October 2020 Honduras became the 50 country to ratify the treaty, kick starting the process for the ban to enter into international law. The treaty comes into force 90 days after the 50th ratification, which means Nuclear Weapons will be illegal under international law on the 22nd January 2021.

Film produced in 2019 about the treaty campaign