The Ban Treaty – Next Steps: Sign and Ratify

Dear friends of peace,

Dear colleagues,

A historical document was adopted by 122 states at the UN on July 7th: the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

For many years we have been working for and promoted such a treaty. As the South-African Ambassador said, we faced through the last years “an incredible amount of pressure”, we were accused of being “irrealistic” and divisive, but this treaty had to be achieved as a “moral duty”.

Now a ban treaty of nuclear weapons is in our hands, and as atomic bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow said in her moving statement on July 7th, “This is the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons”. It is the result of intensive and constructive negotiations at the United Nations in New York in which civil society has played a crucial role, and will be a major driver towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The treaty does not abolish nuclear weapons. The destructive role of the nuclear weapons States and their allies have been permanently hindering the road to a world without nuclear weapons. During the whole process of the Ban Treaty, their isolation became obvious and impressive and their moral bankruptcy visible to the whole world.

The Ban Treaty creates a new international climate, new norms and a new and unique coalition of governments and the international peace movement which can build on further steps towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

The Ban Treaty is also a document of hope. The vast majority of states do not want to continue to live under the nuclear sword of Damocles and they are taking action. This is a great step forward!

The Treaty now has to enter into force and create a new international norm once 50 countries sign and ratify it.

As it has been all along this process, the Ban Treaty will only become an encompassing reality if manifold activities of the peace movements worldwide are encouraged and organized.

This means:

  • We need to encourage as many states as possible to sign and ratify the Treaty. Which and how many governments can we convince before the undersigning of the treaty on September 20th 2017? To get as many signatories as possible we need to develop a campaign “Sign and Ratify”.
  • We have to convince reluctant governments. How can we motivate NATO states to sign it and which arguments can we develop to build political pressure on them. How can we convince umbrella states?
  • We also have to increase pressure on nuclear weapons states. As the Treaty says, nuclear weapons pose grave implications for human survival, the environment, socioeconomic development, the global economy, food security and the health of current and future generations. More actions and mobilizations against nuclear weapons need to be taken in these countries.

The International Peace Bureau asks for your engagement and action: let’s think together about how we can shape and develop a worldwide campaign to support the Ban Treaty. Ideas and creativity are needed but also more actions and manifold acts.

Let’s wait no more, and let’s not wait, but benefit from the momentum of the Ban Treaty negotiations in New York. Let’s engage in new international processes, work with the international peace movement, include other sectors into the movement (e.g. trade unions, churches, the environment, gender…) and aim to create a nuclear weapons’ convention for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Our idea is to develop an international campaign encouraging the signing and ratification of the Ban Treaty. We would like to invite you to contact your governments and persuade them to take such actions.

The IPB with its more than 350 members will actively support and accompany this process. Like other organizations have done, we would also like to suggest to as many organizations as possible the choice of awarding ICAN and the Hibakushas with the Nobel Peace Prize in the upcoming elections. They really deserve it.

As its own contribution to support the Ban Treaty, IPB plans to organize an international conference on the weekend before the next NPT PrepCom in Geneva. This conference will gather civil society organizations from different backgrounds in order to explore common strategies towards a quick implementation of the Treaty and the road to the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Please use all future peace and anti-nuclear events to promote the Ban, above all on the 6th and 9th of August.

We have accomplished one step: the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons exists. It now has to become reality as a milestone on the road to a nuclear weapons free world.


Yours sincerely,

Reiner Braun, IPB Co-President

Lisa Clark, IPB Co-President

Download the letter here.