Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Adopted at UN

After a decade-long effort by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and 72 years after their invention, today states at the United Nations formally adopted a treaty which categorically prohibits nuclear weapons. Scottish CND has been a partner in ICAN since 2007

Until now, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction without a ban treaty, despite the widespread and catastrophic humanitarian consequences across the world of their intentional or accidental detonation. Biological weapons were banned in 1972 and chemical weapons in 1992.

ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said:

“We hope that today marks the beginning of the end of the nuclear age. It is beyond question that nuclear weapons violate the laws of war and pose a clear danger to global security. It is time for leaders around the world to match their values and words with action by signing and ratifying this treaty as a first step towards eliminating nuclear weapons.”

Bill Kidd MSP, Co-President of Parliamentarians for Non- Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament, added:

“All of the UK’s nuclear arsenal is based in Scotland, against the wishes of the Scottish Government the votes of the Scottish Parliament and the expressed will of the Scottish people. As a member of the Scottish Parliament, along with colleagues from Scottish Civil Society I am here in New York to speak up on behalf of our nation. The Prohibition Treaty will present a significant opportunity to present nuclear disarmament as a serious option on the table at international negotiations.”

The “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” was adopted today and will open for signature by states at the United Nations in New York on September 20, 2017. Civil society organizations, including those from the wider peace movement in Scotland, have participated in the negotiations as well as more than 140 member states of the UN

This treaty came about because  the majority of the world no longer accepts nuclear weapons as legitimate tools of war. The repeated objection and boycott of the negotiations by the UK and other nuclear-weapon states demonstrates that the treaty will impact on their behavior and stature and in changing the international view of nuclear weapons will change policies and behaviors, even in states that will not yet sign the treaty.

“Scotland’s opposition to the weapons in our country is in line with the global norm,” said Janet Fenton from the Scottish civil society delegation, “and now we have a great tool that can help us in our work to get rid of them.”

The treaty identifies obligations to the victims of nuclear weapons use and testing and to remediate the environmental damage caused.

From the beginning, the effort to ban nuclear weapons has had support of international humanitarian, environmental and disarmament organisations in more than 100 states including Scotland. Around the world, they signed petitions, joined protests, contacted representatives, and pressured governments. This year, Scottish CND established a Ban Treaty Working Group to prepare for New York.


The website which documents and reports on activities and negotiations at the UN is www.nuclearban.scot

Trident Ploughshares are holding a disarmament camp at Coulport to respond to the treaty’s adoption.


More information about ICAN can be found on www.icanw.org.