Two more countries have taken action to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), bringing the number of signatories to 93 – nearly half of all states in the world – and the number of states parties to 69.
The Bahamas’ foreign minister signed the historic agreement, while Sri Lanka’s minister acceded to the treaty at a ceremony in New York on Tuesday 19 September during the annual United Nations leaders’ week.
Negotiated in 2017 and in force from 2021, the TPNW is the first multilateral agreement to comprehensively outlaw nuclear weapons establish a framework for their elimination and to assist victims of their use and testing.
ICAN executive director Melissa Parke congratulated the Bahamas and Sri Lanka for accepting “the strongest multilateral norms against the worst weapons of mass destruction”.
She warned that the use of nuclear weapons would cause unprecedented humanitarian and environmental catastrophe and praised the new signatories for doing their part “to prevent these horrible weapons from ever being used again”.
Both countries participated in the negotiation of the TPNW in New York six years ago and voted in favour of its adoption.
The Bahamas is the thirteenth member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to sign the treaty, making the region’s accession almost universal. Sri Lanka’s accession, meanwhile, sends an important message to its nuclear-armed neighbours, India and Pakistan, which have expressed opposition to the treaty.