Is the American media suppressing an important international story? It certainly appears so. The nations of the world without nuclear weapons (95% of United Nations members) have spent decades expressing their discontent with a system of nuclear weapons apartheid, and now they have a UN treaty to back them up. This would be the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) a.k.a. “the ban treaty”, which was adopted by 122 nations at the UN in July, 2017 and entered into force in January, 2021. It’s a good thing you are a PSR supporter, because if you relied on American media outlets, you might not even know this treaty existed!
From June 21 to 23 of this year, Austria — an early champion of the ban — will host the first official Meeting of States Party to the TPNW in Vienna. Currently there are 86 signatories and 61 “states parties” to the TPNW. All nine nuclear-armed countries have refused to sign or ratify, but the UN Secretary General encourages all nations to send official delegations to the MSP.
With each new TPNW ratification, it becomes more clear that nuclear weapons are headed for the dustbin of history. In Vienna, the 61 ratifiers (plus observers from other nations) will meet to deliberate on how best to totally eliminate nuclear weapons from the planet. The United States should get on the right side of history by at least sending a delegation of observers to this important meeting in Vienna. During the ongoing Ukraine crisis, the United States has sought support from “non-aligned” nations in applying sanctions against Russia. The TPNW is very popular among these non-aligned nations , so another benefit of participating in the Meeting of States Party would be to improve the standing of the United States among these non-aligned nations.
PSR has wholeheartedly supported the TPNW since its inception. PSR is also the United States affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which launched the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) in 2007. ICAN’s mission is to stigmatize, prohibit & eliminate nuclear weapons. All along this road, PSR has been a proud Partner Organization in ICAN. In recognition of ICAN’s persistent, hard work promoting the ban treaty, ICAN received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.
Read the ICAN booklet “How the TPNW Works”
Here is what to watch for (and participate in) over the next several weeks:
June 7: Here in the United States, to raise public consciousness and media attention about the Ban Treaty in the United States, the Nuclear Ban Treaty Collaborative will go public with its Statement on the Existential Threat of Nuclear Weapons and on the TPNW. (PSR is among the 99 endorsing organizations. You can read the Statement here.)
June 12 is the 40th anniversary of the million-person march and rally for peace and justice in New York City. This anniversary will be commemorated with several events — see the June 12 blog here.
On June 18, the same day as the Poor People’s Campaign Moral March on Washington, ICAN will commence a 2-day Nuclear Ban Forum, in-person in Vienna and via livestream. Register here to participate in the livestream.
On June 20, Austria will host the 2022 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons.
June 21-23 will be the dates for the first official Meeting of States Party to the TPNW. The MSP was originally scheduled for January, 2022 but was delayed because of Covid-19. Information on the MSP can be found here at the United Nations website.
Send a message to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging him to send an official delegation of observers to the Meeting of States Parties in Vienna.