The United Nations’ Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty: Article 6, Victim Assistance and Environmental Remediation
Last week, CCNS began a four-part series about the United Nations’ Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, whose entry into force three weeks from now will advance the movement toward the future elimination of nuclear weapons. But first, a few words on the significance of the Treaty: Friday, January 22nd, 2021 will be a historic day for nuclear weapons. That is the date when the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty will begin to establish in international law a categorical ban on nuclear weapons 75 years after their development and first use. https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/tpnw/
The purpose of the Treaty is to outlaw the development, manufacture, testing, possession, transfer, acquisition, stockpiling, use or threat of use, control or receipt, stationing or deployment of nuclear weapons. https://www.icanw.org/here_are_five_examples_of_the_type_of_activities_that_will_be_illegal_under_international_law_on_22_january_2021
The Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty was approved in July 2017 by 122 nation states. The fiftieth nation state to sign and ratify the Treaty was Honduras, on October 24th of 2020, which meant the Treaty would enter into force ninety days later, on January 22nd of 2021. As of November 1st, 2020, 84 countries have become State Parties to the Treaty.
The Treaty itself is composed of 20 official Articles.
Last week we summarized Article 4, about the elimination of nuclear weapons. http://nuclearactive.org/the-united-nations-nuclear-weapons-ban-treaty-to-enter-into-force-in-january/
Today, we look at Article 6, which addresses essential Victim Assistance and Environmental Remediation. Each of its three paragraphs consists of a single long sentence, which we are quoting in their entirety.
Paragraph 1 of the Treaty’s Article 6 recognizes that in each nation, individuals may be suffering because of their exposure to radiation from nuclear weapons testing and use. It says, “Each State Party shall, with respect to individuals under its jurisdiction who are affected by the use or testing of nuclear weapons, in accordance with applicable international humanitarian and human rights law, adequately provide age- and gender-sensitive assistance, without discrimination, including medical care, rehabilitation and psychological support, as well as provide for their social and economic inclusion.”
Paragraph 2 recognizes that in each nation there may be degradation of the environment that needs to be corrected. Paragraph 2 says, “Each State Party, with respect to areas under its jurisdiction or control contaminated as a result of activities related to the testing or use of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, shall take necessary and appropriate measures towards the environmental remediation of areas so contaminated.”
Paragraph 3 concludes, saying, “The obligations under paragraphs 1 and 2 above shall be without prejudice to the duties and obligations of any other States under international law or bilateral agreements.”
Next week, we’ll discuss Article 7 about international cooperation and assistance.
Join the Entry Into Force (EIF) movement. Learn more at: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons at https://www.icanw.org/ , Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance at https://orepa.org/, and the Nuclear Ban Treaty EIF facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/743982149793909/
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Tags: 2021 entry into force, applicable international humanitarian and human rights law, Honduras, international cooperation and assistance, January 22, total elimination of nuclear weapons, TPNW, Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, United Nations’ Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, Victim Assistance and Environmental Remediation