Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons receives 50th ratification

By Nathan Hosler

On Oct. 24, the United Nations received its 50th ratification for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). As a result, the treaty will “enter into force” in 90 days, on Jan. 22, 2021, and become international law. While this will not immediately eliminate the threat of nuclear war, it is a significant step in the right direction.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), said, “The 50 countries that ratify this treaty are showing true leadership in setting a new international norm that nuclear weapons are not just immoral but illegal,”

The Church of the Brethren has consistently opposed war as well as the participation and preparation for war. We recognize and seek to follow Jesus’ way of peacemaking and reconciliation through spiritual, interpersonal, local, and international efforts. As such, we affirm such efforts and treaties as part of global efforts to reduce the harm caused by war.

In the 1982 Annual Conference Statement, “A Call to Halt the Nuclear Arms Race” (www.brethren.org/ac/statements/1982-nuclear-arms-race) we wrote:

“Against these preparations for nuclear and conventional warfare, the Church of the Brethren again raises its voice. Since its inception the church has understood the biblical message as contrary to the destructive, life denying, realities of war. The position of the Church of the Brethren is that all war is sin and contrary to the will of God and we confirm that position. We seek to work with other Christians and all persons who desire to abolish war as a means of resolving difference. The church has consistently spoken and continues to speak against the production and use of nuclear weapons. We have called upon our government to ‘dismantle its nuclear arsenal, pledge not to use nuclear weapons, refuse to sell nuclear fuels and technology to any state not agreeing to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, work tirelessly for a comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, take unilateral disarmament initiatives as a way of breaking the current stalemate, and strengthen global institutions that facilitate nonviolent means of conflict resolution and the process of disarmament.’”

For more on this development:

An update from the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), “What Does the Nuclear Weapons Ban Mean for the US?” is at www.fcnl.org/updates/what-does-the-nuclear-weapons-ban-mean-for-the-u-s-3060.

An article from Just Security, “A Turning Point in the Struggle Against the Bomb: The Nuclear Ban Treaty Ready to Go into Effect,” is at www.justsecurity.org/73050/a-turning-point-in-the-struggle-against-the-bomb-the-nuclear-ban-treaty-ready-to-go-into-effect.

— Nathan Hosler is director of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C.


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