At times like this we all need reasons to be cheerful. Hereford Peace Council, United Nations Association Shropshire, Marches Extinction Rebellion, are all celebrating the fact that on Friday 22 January 2021 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will become International Law.

The nuclear weapon ban comes into effect because 50 countries have now ratified the UN treaty including New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and Nigeria. A further 87 counties are supporting signatories, which means that two-thirds of 193 UN Member States have already pledged their support for this global ban on nuclear weapons.

To celebrate this historic day local peace campaigner Kim Holroyd says. “We are really excited that the governments of these 50 countries are leading the way, demonstrating what can be done to make the world a better, safer place.”  So we have 50 reasons to be cheerful! This in marked contrast to the appalling, dangerous behaviour of the nuclear weapons states including the UK that continue to ignore the wishes of the vast majority of humanity.

Another reason to be cheerful is that in countries where the national government has not agreed to the treaty, cities are declaring their own support of TPNW.  Cities from Paris to Hiroshima and Sydney to Toronto have declared support for the treaty.  Here in the UK, 14 cities have declared support for abolishing nuclear weapons.  The most recent was Leeds last week.  It is heartening to see so many civil society groups and local authorities urging their governments to adopt TPNW as the means to achieve a nuclear weapons free world.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons forbids all activities related to nuclear weapons: testing, building, funding and even threatening to use them. This impacts not just the use of such terrible weapons of mass destruction but any company involved in their manufacture are now illegal under International Law. 

It is thirty years since the Cold War ended but we have yet to see the ‘peace dividend’ that was promised. At a time when the COVID global pandemic has shown how interconnected we all are, does it makes any sense to spend £205 billion on renewing Trident? Surely this money would be better spent coping with this current pandemic and ensuring we in this country are better prepared for the next one and other disaster risks?

Medical student, Madeleine Budd said “The renewal of Trident is costing us hugely while the NHS and public services are suffering. We need this money now. Meanwhile as threats to UK security evolve and become more complex, in the direction of climate change, terrorism, and this pandemic, Trident is serving us less and less, CND describing these weapons, with their immense and depraved capacity for destruction as ‘militarily useless’. On these grounds I am totally opposed to Trident and overjoyed at this move towards global abolition”.

“This is a huge step forward on the long road to rid the world of nuclear weapons” said Shropshire born Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr Rebecca Johnson. “It reaffirms the importance of international law and shows that another world is possible.”

PS. See if you can spot the HGN Members starring in this great video which is celebrating the ban!