ICAN, ICRC urge ECOWAS to sign, ratify treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons

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ECOWAS-Secretariat-Abuja
ECOWAS-Secretariat-Abuja

THE International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have urged ECOWAS member states to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Mr Kolade Fadahunsi, representing ICAN made the call during an interactive session on the UN treaty at the ongoing session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja on Thursday.

According to Fadahunsi, the TPNW of 2017 is the first globally applicable multilateral agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons comprehensively.

It prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory.

It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.

The ICAN representative said that 21 African countries, eight of which are ECOWAS member states, had signed the TPNW while the Gambia and South Africa had ratified it.

“We are encouraged to learn that various countries have begun the process of ratification domestically, and we look forward to welcoming more African states as full states parties of this treaty soon.

“The TPNW enters into force once 50 states have ratified it; worldwide 23 had done so as of the end of April 2019.

“It is incumbent on each nation in West Africa to seize control of our own destiny before it’s taken from us due to geopolitical events that we had no part in.

““Each nation can do just that by joining the growing community of nations that are part of the treaty that bans these horrifying weapons that have no military utility.”

He added that the African continent was not free of the effect of the negative use of nuclear weapons as it could impact on food security, migration, infrastructure, and development.

He said that it was pertinent to make efforts to fight, stop and prohibitthe use of nuclear weapons.

The Legal Coordinator, ICRC, Mr Rochus Peyer said that member states, through the signing, wouldadd their voices against nuclear weapons “that are contrary to law, moral and humanitarian concerns”.

“We understand that the issue of nuclear weapons is a universal problem and the solution to that problem is to be universal as well.

“There is already a nuclear weapons free zone treaty in Africa but this is a regional treaty that only applies to Africa but the TPNW is a global treaty.

“By adhering to the treaty, you contribute to delegitimise the use of nuclear weapons which will overtime turn into a law, a new humanitarian law.”

Peyer added that the treaty did not limit the ability of a state to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

 

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– May 23, 2019 @ 19:19 GMT |

 

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