Entered Into Force on, January 22, 2021
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STATEMENT BY SETSUKO THURLOW
TPNW ENTRY INTO FORCE CORE GROUP OF STATES MEETING 22 JANUARY 2021
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has entered into force today, January 22, 2021. This truly marks the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons! Many survivors had the motto “abolition in our lifetime.” Can you imagine, I survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and lived to see this day.
As a thirteen-year-old child, I witnessed my hometown blinded by the flash, burned in the heat of 4,000 degrees Celsius, flattened by the hurricane-like blast and contaminated by the radiation of one atomic bomb. A bright summer morning turned to dark twilight with smoke and debris rising in the mushroom cloud. I saw a mass of grotesque, ghostly figures — bleeding, burnt, blackened and swollen. From one moment to the next, my beloved Hiroshima was transformed into a hell on earth.
Having survived such a massive trauma, I made a vow to commit my life to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Therefore, it is impossible to describe the depths of my joy that we have finally achieved the status of international law for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It is impossible to describe the depths of my gratitude to everyone who has contributed to its success.
When I heard that we had reached our 50th ratification, I was so overcome with emotion that I was unable to stand. I remained in my chair and put my head in my hands and I cried tears of joy. As I sat down, I found myself speaking with the spirits of hundreds of thousands of people who lost their lives in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And I thought again about the profound meaning that each person who died had a name. Each person was loved by someone.
On behalf of all those who perished in the indiscriminate massacre of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and all those victimized by more than 2,000 nuclear tests across the globe, and countless indigenous people exploited for uranium mining in isolated areas of the world — for all these people I say from the bottom of my heart — thank you to everyone who worked for this treaty, and who has recognized us, the survivors of radioactive violence. No longer to be forgotten and intentionally ignored, we are publicly acknowledged and assisted through the positive obligations enshrined in the treaty.
Today is a day to celebrate with the global community of nuclear abolitionists who have come together, nearly 600 organizations in more than 100 countries, who have received public recognition of the Nobel Peace Prize. Indeed, it is ICAN that laid the groundwork to collaborate across the divide of diplomacy and activism to achieve something of profound and lasting importance.
Through my work over the years with ICAN, I have a powerful feeling of solidarity with tens of thousands of people across the world. We have made it to this point.
During the years of working together for our shared goal we have developed respect, trust and inclusiveness among government representatives, delegates from international agencies, scholars, experts and civil society activists. This is a remarkable demonstration of our deeply cherished commitment to create a world without nuclear weapons. We must continue to do that, and redouble our efforts to work in true collaboration with one another.
I clearly remember the moment the TPNW was adopted in July 2017, and likewise the day the 50th ratification by Honduras was achieved, and now this morning when the treaty finally enters into force, I again found myself reporting to the spirits of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I told them that we finally achieved the milestone of Entry into Force, the first step on our path ever forward to the final goal of nuclear abolition.
“Watch over us,” I asked them “Give us time. Time for us to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons, as we vowed so many years ago.”
Today, as we celebrate, let us embrace in our warm circle the memories of those who perished, and of those currently suffering radioactive harm in many parts of the world. It is on their behalf and for future generations that our urgent work continues.
Wikipedia: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (“TPNW”), or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal being their total elimination. It was adopted on 7 July 2017, opened for signature on 20 September 2017, and will enter into force on 22 January 2021.
For those nations that are party to it, the treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities. For nuclear armed states joining the treaty, it provides for a time-bound framework for negotiations leading to the verified and irreversible elimination of its nuclear weapons programme, AND WE HONOR YOU:
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE
CONGO, REPUBLIC OF THE
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
SAO TOME & PRINCIPE
ST KITTS & NEVIS
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
= 86 signatories
The following countries have ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons —