As Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Goes into Effect, Biden Administration Must Renew Commitment to Rid World of Nuclear Weapons

Statement by Laura Grego, Senior Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jan 21, 2021

WASHINGTON (January 21, 2021)—The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, ratified by 51 countries, enters into force tomorrow. This historic treaty is the first instrument of international law that comprehensively bans nuclear weapons. This should spur President Joe Biden to reaffirm the United States’ longstanding obligation to work toward world nuclear disarmament, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Dr. Laura Grego, senior scientist and co-director of the Global Security Program at UCS.

“The entry into force of the nuclear ban treaty is an enormous achievement and a hopeful step. This landmark treaty is the culmination of decades of effort by the governments of many countries and by committed activists including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the hibakusha, the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings whose personal testimony ensures the world does not forget the very human, catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons.

“The world is saying nuclear weapons are illegitimate and most people in the United States believe no country should have them. The United States may not be ready to sign the Ban Treaty, but it’s time for it to return to leadership on nuclear disarmament. The Biden administration can start by reaffirming the commitment that President Obama made in Prague 11 years ago to work towards ensuring the peace and security of a world free of nuclear weapons, and then take concrete steps to achieve that.”

To read the blog on the hibakusha movement for nuclear disarmament, titled “A 75-year Rally Against Nuclear Weapons Brings the World Closer to Justice,” click here.

To read an interview with nuclear security scholar Aditi Verma on why the success of the treaty took nuclear-armed countries by surprise, click here.