Clear off the Shadows of Nuclear Weapons
We are all looking for a safe world where our children can grow safely. Where nuclear weapons would only be part of history books.
A year after the signing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the treaty can boast 69 signatories and 19 ratifications. It is thereby the fastest rate of ratification of any weapon of mass destruction treaty.
WILPF participated in bringing the treaty to fruition as part of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Since the signing in 2017, we are ensuring the Treaty’s rapid entry into force and effective implementation. In March 2018, we released our resource guide The Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty: A Resource Guide for WILPF to support local activists and WILPF Sections’ actions toward a world free of nuclear weapons.
WILPF Sections all over the world have been working towards this goal throughout the past year. WILPF Sweden Section has, in collaboration with the Swedish Section of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear Weapons, developed a shadow report, entitled “In the Shadows of Power,” in response to the Swedish government’s inquiry on whether Sweden should join the TPNW.
“In the Shadows of Power”
The report includes twelve articles by activists and experts in the field, eight of which are in English (which will be looked at briefly below), and the remaining four in Swedish and Norwegian.
It brings a distinctly human aspect to the question of nuclear weapons and delves into the importance morally, politically, legally and historically of the TPNW. Moreover, it ensures accessibility to a wider audience, as the articles are concise and are mostly free of complicated jargon.
A Flip Through the Report
- “The Reason Why We Need to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons”
Setsuko Thurlow, a leading figure in ICAN and a survivor of Hiroshima, explains how the risk associated with brandishing nuclear warfare as a threat is too high, and that the treaty is the best way to avoid the shadow cast by the threat of nuclear weapons.
- “A Feminist Reflection on Nuclear Disarmament and Change” (also available in Swedish)
Emma Rosengren similarly discusses how the desire to maintain nuclear weapons is born out of fear of others having nuclear weapons. She looks at how the logic of masculinist protection should be left in the past in favour of a more feminist approach to peace and disarmament.
- “The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and its Compatibility with Sweden’s Security Arrangements”
Bonnie Docherty, lecturer of law at the International Human Rights Clinic Harvard Law School, elucidates how Sweden’s security arrangements would not prove any legal deterrent from joining the TPNW.
- “Memorandum on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”
Treasa Dunworth, from The University of Auckland, explores the legal relationship between the TPNW, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. She explains how the TPNW seeks to strengthen and implement other nuclear-related treaties.
- “The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons: Implications for Sweden’s Imports and Exports of Nuclear Material and Items”
Stuart Casey-Maslen lays out exactly how Sweden would or would not be able to continue imports of exports of nuclear materials as a State Party of the TPNW.
- “Safeguard Provisions in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”
Eirini Giorgou reviews the criticism against the Safeguard provisions, explaining how the TPNW, though undoubtedly imperfect, is nonetheless, a significant and unprecedented move in the right direction towards nuclear disarmament.
- “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons: The Role of Meetings of States Parties and Review Conference”
Peter Herby emphasises the strength on the TPNW is in leaving an “open door” for future changes and provisions to be made to adapt to new circumstances.
- “The Sustainable Development Goals and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”
Erin Hunt states how signing the TPNW would strengthen Sweden’s role as a development leader, noting how “the goals of Sweden’s foreign policy cannot be met without efforts to address the two existential threats facing humanity – climate change and nuclear weapons.”