Nuclear Ban Treaty
Banner Image Credit: Photo of David Kelly’s photos and flag from his 5th floor window.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively ban nuclear weapons. It was passed on the 7th July 2017 in the General Assembly of the United Nations. However, 69 nations did not vote. Included in this 69 nations were all nations with nuclear weapons and all NATO members (except the Netherlands who voted against).
Despite this, it officially entered international law on 22nd January 2021. This means that for the nations who are party to it, they can not develop, test, produce, stockpile, station, transfer, use, or threaten to use nuclear weapons. States who already have nuclear weapons must agree to dispose of them in a set time period.
For anti-nuclear campaigners around the world, the 22nd January marked a huge moment in the steps towards a nuclear weapon free world. Many groups locally, nationally and internationally celebrated, but also used it as a call to the countries who did not sign, including the UK, to rethink their decision.
We have collected the stories of those who marked the occasion. As the UK was in lockdown in January 2021 due to the covid-19 pandemic, groups had to find new ways to peacefully and safely celebrate and spread the message that there is work still to be done to abolish nuclear weapons for good.
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
CND welcomed and celebrated the ban becoming law, but they recognise that more needs to be done to encourage the UK government and governments around the world to sign up to the ban. A survey they conducted showed that 59% of the UK public want the UK government to sign it.
They released these posters that both celebrate the ban and encourage people to write to their MP.
Watch this video:
You can see some of their campaign tweets on Twitter or just search #NuclearBan
The Movement for the Abolition of War also shared a similar poster:
Credit: Movement for the Abolition of War
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
WILPF released an online exhibition on their website on the 22nd January to mark the occasion called Peace No Nukes. See the exhibition here.
The Keighley Peace, Justice and Environment Network placed banners outside Keighley Civic Centre, including banners supporting ICAN – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons who were instrumental in campaigning and working alongside the UN.
Credit: Keighley Peace, Justice and Environment Network
In Settle, North Yorkshire, local Phil NcNichol put up a banner on the Quaker Meeting House announcing the ban treaty.
Credit: Settle Meeting
Calder Valley CND
Watch this video to see how Calder Valley CND members celebrated the ban.
Grassington and District Peace Group
“Bells Ring Out in Craven.
At 12 noon on Friday 22nd January 2021 church bells and hand bells rang out and flags were waved in celebration of the entry into force as international law of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Bunty Leder rang the bells of St Michaels in Linton (photograph), which is the parish church for Grassington.
Olivia Agate rang a bell, sang and displayed a celebration flag in Skipton. At the same time Richard Hargreaves paraded through his home village of Hawkswick ringing a bell and displaying our poster, which was displayed on our noticeboard and elsewhere. He had earlier written a letter to the local paper, The Craven Herald, announcing the celebrations and noting that the TPNW prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons.
Bellringing was not the only action taken by Grassington and District Peace Group leading up to the celebration. Such a significant Treaty should be supported by all states: nuclear and non-nuclear, but some of the nuclear weapon states, including Britain, have not involved themselves in developing the TPNW and do not support it, despite proclaiming that they wish to help bring about nuclear disarmament. Group members have been lobbying national and local politicians to support the Treaty by sending them greetings cards produced by Yorkshire CND, with the message ‘Glad tidings! On the 22nd of January 2021 Nuclear Weapons will be declared illegal.’ The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary and Leader of the Opposition have all received these cards as well as our own MP, Julian Smith (Conservative) and some local councillors. Cards also went to family and friends of members.
The Group has also raised the issue in more detail with Julian Smith through emails and telephone calls, pointing out the failure of successive governments’ step-by-step approach to bring about nuclear disarmament and that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has only been partially successful, with nuclear weapon states, including the UK, updating and enhancing these weapons of mass destruction.
After the celebrations David Knight wrote a letter to the Craven Herald reporting on the celebrations and emphasising that the TPNW does not conflict with the NPT, but complements it and provides a pathway which nuclear states could together follow to bring about multilateral nuclear disarmament. The letter pointed out MPs can show their support for the TPNW by signing the Early Day Motion (EDM) 1072 and Town/City Councils, Districts Councils and County Councils can also express support, as some have done, by passing resolutions welcoming the Entry into Force of the TPNW and individual councillors can sign pledges of support.”
Written by David Knight
Grassington and District Peace Group
Sheffield Creative Action for Peace (SCRAP)
SCRAP held an online event and invited Sheffield and Balby Quakers. Sheffield’s current Lord Mayor, Tony Downing, who is very supportive of SCRAP’s work also attended the zoom event. You can also watch this video which is a slideshow of all the pennants with the names of all the countries that had ratified the treaty, made by the members of SCRAP. Due to covid restrictions, they were all made in individual homes and then brought together. The group hopes once restrictions have eased they will all be displayed together in Sheffield Peace gardens.
Pontefract Quaker Meeting put up two banners: one outside the Meeting House and one on the railings of our Burial Ground which is next to a busy road.
Credit: Pontefract Quaker Meeting
And further afield…
Fritchley Quakers celebrated by hanging a banner on the front door of their meeting house (sadly not being used during lockdown). They posted on their notice-board a message celebrating the treaty and asking why the UK would not sign up, along with white poppies.
Credit: Fritchley Quakers
Newcastle Quaker Meeting
Douglas Rennie, the Clerk of Newcastle Quakers put up this banner in the meeting house.
Credit: Newcastle Quaker Meeting
Wimbledon Disarmament Coalition
Members of the Wimbledon Disarmament Coalition displayed posters in their windows, one member made her poster into a sandwich board arrangement and “wore” it to shop in Sainsbury’s, and two members displayed a banner and held posters at the local railway station (Raynes Park).
Credit: Wimbledon Disarmament Coalition
Stockport Quakers/Stockport for Peace
Peacemakers in Stockport marked the occasion with bell ringing on the steps of the Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery in the town centre.
Credit: Stockport Quakers-Phoebe Spence
XR Peace Bristol
XR Peace Bristol staged a one man banner drop on the M32.
Credit: Simon Holliday
Tim shared with us his images of how he marked the ban. “It snowed in the week before TPNW entry into force, so the snowman announces Good News Coming Soon. My garage door is right by the pavement, and I have been using it as a noticeboard since April last year. On TPNW day, we put up the banner…and the twinkly lights show up nicely at night”.
Credit: Tim Devereux
These are some pictures generated by Salisbury CND. They were all set to project them on local buildings, but the day they planned to do it, the lockdown came into force! These pictures are Photoshopped to reproduce what it would have looked like. They were used in local press publicity.
Credit: Salisbury CND
The Sea Green Singers, Oxford’s political choir, produced a short audio track of them singing a song ‘One nuclear bomb could ruin your whole day!’ accompanied by photos of campaigning.
These photos show a demonstration in Adelaide by the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia).
Credit: Dr Nicholas Wickham
A campaigner Ruth Russell was also part of the crowd at the Adelaide demonstration. Ruth is an executive member of WILPF (South Australia) living in Adelaide, and an activist in many humanitarian and peace organisations here. She went as a “human shield” to Iraq before the war began there, and represented Sth Australia on a tour of the Peace Boat from Japan.
Credit: Fernando Goncalves
An image of a peaceful protest at the State Parliament House in Adelaide
Credit: Fernando Goncalves
The Interenatinal Peace Bureau
The IPB was founded in 1891-92, as a result of consultations at the Universal Peace Congresses and is dedicated to the vision of a World Without War.
They celebrated with their family and friends with a full-fledged online “house party,” featuring speeches from IPB’s Co-Presidents, the Executive Director of ICAN, Beatrice Fihn, Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Noam Chomsky.
You can view their celebration here:
The Catholic Bishops of England, Scotland and Wales, issued a statement endorsing the ban and calling on the UK to ‘forsake nuclear weapons.’ Catholic Justice & Peace groups, including one in Westminster, were instrumental in asking our bishops to do this, over a good many years.
Read the statement here.
If you would like to add to our exhibition and share your stories of how you or your group marked the ban please email us [email protected].