AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) prohibits the development, production, possession, transfer, receipt, testing, hosting, use, and threat of use of nuclear weapons. Today it becomes law – the most significant multilateral development in nuclear arms control since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entered into force in 1970.
Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing in 1945, celebrated the adoption of TPNW at the UN in 2017 by noting that nuclear weapons, always “immoral,” were now “also illegal.” It establishes a new normative settling point on the ethics, legality, and legitimacy of the bomb. The TPNW sees the realisation of the world’s commitment to securing the legally binding prohibition of all three classes of weapons of mass destruction, with biological and chemical weapons having been banned in 1972 and 1993.