Dear Prime Minister / Defence Secretary
I am writing to you on behalf of the United Nations Association, London and South East Region (UNA LASER).
Here is some good news to celebrate as we start the new year: from 22 January nuclear weapons are banned under international law, as the new UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons enters into force. The treaty brings nuclear weapons into line with chemical and biological weapons, already illegal under international law.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described the treaty as “the culmination of a worldwide movement to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons” while Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross calls it “a victory for humanity, and a promise of a safer future”. Pope Francis has given it his wholehearted support and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, together with other leading bishops, state that they “warmly welcome and applaud” the treaty and have urged the UK government to sign it.
The entry of the treaty into international legal force sends a clear message to nuclear-armed nations that inaction is no longer acceptable. This is the beginning of the end of the military hegemony of the nuclear-armed powers, as nation after nation asserts its right to live in a world free of the threat of nuclear annihilation.
I hope that the treaty will have a deterrent effect on the UK government’s outdated determination to maintain its nuclear arsenal. A country like ours which prides itself on its support for the UN and on an international rules-based system is likely to become increasingly isolated and stigmatised as a nuclear pariah. In addition, global financial institutions, bound by international law and keen to establish themselves as responsible investors, will be increasingly hesitant of investing in anything related to these ‘controversial’ weapons now they have been delegitimised by the majority of nations. Also, countries signatory to the treaty will refuse any sort of assistance to nuclear-armed states in respect of these weapons.
I urge you to join in celebrating this positive step forward for humanity and to sign the treaty and work towards the elimination of these genocidal monstrosities. Nuclear weapons states like ours are now out of step with the rest of the world!
Chair, UNA LASER