Meeting with government officials can be an effective way to make the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons a higher priority and speed up your country’s ratification process. The officials most likely to be in a position to influence the process include the foreign minister, the head of the disarmament section at the foreign ministry, and the chair of your parliament’s committee on foreign affairs.
Meeting with these and other officials will allow you to find out more about the current status of your country’s ratification process and to demonstrate to your government that civil society organisations support the treaty and want to see it ratified and implemented as a matter of urgency.
These are some questions you might ask:
- What progress has been made towards ratification of the treaty?
- What are the next steps in the ratification process?
- How can civil society support the ratification process?
Why ratify the treaty
Ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a simple but important step that every country can – and should – take to help bring the era of nuclear weapons to a permanent end. Given the unique existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to humanity and the lack of recent progress towards the elimination of such weapons, achieving the entry into force of this treaty is an urgent imperative.
The treaty was negotiated in response to the ever-deepening concern of the international community about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons. No state is immune to these consequences. People in neighbouring and distant states who have nothing to do with the conflict, including those belonging to nuclear-weapon-free zones, would suffer from the effects of radioactive fallout and climate disruption. Even a “limited” regional nuclear war involving a small fraction of the world’s nuclear weapons would severely disrupt the climate and agricultural production, resulting in widespread famine.
Any use of nuclear weapons would severely undermine the Sustainable Development Agenda. The dead and injured would number in the tens or hundreds of thousands, if not the millions. Chronic illness would plague survivors, and genetic damage would be passed on to future generations. A nuclear attack would destroy major infrastructure, disrupt the economy, and cause irreversible damage to the environment. Furthermore, nuclear weapon programmes divert vast public funds from health care, education, disaster relief, and other vital services.
By ratifying the treaty, your country can help to strengthen the global norm against the use and possession of nuclear weapons by any state and make an important contribution to their total elimination. Nuclear weapons serve no legitimate military or strategic purpose. They cannot be used in conformity with international humanitarian law, and should be subject to a comprehensive treaty-based prohibition like other indiscriminate and inhumane weapons, such as chemical and biological weapons.