BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) enters into force Thursday, Jan. 22. Although the treaty has not been ratified by the United States, groups and organizations around the world are planning celebratory events including two in New Mexico.
In Santa Fe, the members of Veterans For Peace, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS) and Nuclear Watch New Mexico have announced that they will mark the day by holding banners at the at the corner of St. Francis Drive and Cerrillos Road from noon to 1 p.m. Members of Veterans for Peace have conducted a weekly peaceful protest at that location since August 2002.
At 1 p.m. the groups plan to caravan to Los Alamos to hold a vigil with celebratory banners at Ashley Pond.
In October 2020, the 50th instrument of ratification of the Treaty was deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, The Treaty, which had been opened for signature in 2017, includes a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities, including developing, testing, producing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a network of hundreds of organizations was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts
Although the Los Alamos Study Group, an ICAN member, is not formally partipating in Thursday’s events, LASG Director Greg Mello has commented extensively on the Treaty’s entry into force. The Study Group was present and involved in all the negotiations over a three year period leading up to the Treaty, travelling at times to Geneva, Switzerland, New York, Mexico and Austria.
“It is difficult to overstate the accomplishment represented by this Treaty. It makes a sea-change in nuclear affairs, the effect of which will be felt only over time and with further yeoman efforts. It is a real milestone accomplishment in support of human civilization, an historic step in bringing the age of nuclear terror to an end,” Mello said.
“The entry into force of the Treaty is a turning point,” Joni Arends, CCNS Director said, “On the one hand, it is the end of a long process to outlaw nuclear weapons. On the other hand, it is just the beginning of a new movement to confront nuclear weapons states and demand they lift the dark shadow of nuclear annihilation that has loomed over the world for the last seventy-five years.”