New Zealand: Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand releases statement on New Zealand ratifying the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons
8/8/18 - Recently, New Zealand became the 14th state to ratify the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons. Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand, our member organisation in New Zealand, issued the following statement upon ratification.
Pax Christi Aotearoa New Zealand has been a strong advocate against the possession, testing and use of nuclear weapons since our beginnings in the mid 1980s. This has included our strong support for ICAN Aotearoa New Zealand (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), one of many organisations that have rallied the New Zealand government to formally ratify the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons on the 31st July 2018. New Zealand signs as the 14th State to have ratified the treaty.
Aotearoa New Zealand has been against nuclear weapons since the 1960s when we signed a Treaty banning atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. In 1973, New Zealand took France to the International Court of Justice to protest against its nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll. Around the same time,New Zealand sent two frigates into the testing zone to put a stop to testing in the area.
In 1983, the focus shifted to ships thought to be carrying nuclear arms resulting in protests against the USS Texas in 1983 and the USS Truxton in 1976. In 1985 the USS Buchanan was banned from New Zealand ports because it refused to declare whether it had nuclear weapons on board or not. As a result, diplomatic ties with Washington were severed. Also, in 1985, the Greenpeace protest ship “Rainbow Warrior” was bombed in Auckland harbour with the loss of photographer, Fernando Pereira.
In 1987, the New Zealand Parliament signed a Nuclear Free Zone Disarmament and Arms Control Act, declaring itself to be nuclear free zone. This resulted in the banning all nuclear power ships or ships carrying nuclear weapons from entering New Zealand territorial waters and resulted in New Zealand being ejected from the ANZUS agreement with the United States and Australia, its main defence treaty.
Now with the ratification of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the next key step in the campaign against disarmament and prohibition of nuclear weapons, is to encourage other Nation States to ratify this treaty. If 50 nations ratify the treaty, then it becomes actionable.
The Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons strengthens the position of those not seeing any need to further develop nuclear weapons.
In the next few days, we remember the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We remember the horror that the people of these two cities went through – the devastation and tragic loss of life. Surely, the world has no need to go through that again.
Our thanks and congratulations go out to all those who drew up and developed these treaties, to the countries who have signed and are signing them, and most importantly, to the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who continue to this day to tell their story in the hope that they can make the world a better place.