South Africa: Decisive step toward nuclear weapons ban

Pretoria – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) commends South Africa’s decisive stance to contribute to a global ban on nuclear weapons by fully ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The Treaty comprehensively prohibits nuclear weapons on the basis of international humanitarian law and further prevents the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons.

“We look forward to the South African authorities swiftly translating relevant parts of this ground-breaking international agreement into South African law,” said Sarah Mabeza, regional legal advisor at the ICRC. “This will enable provisions that prevent the manufacture, transfer, possession or stockpiling of nuclear weapons to be fully enforced.”

South Africa set the pace for a nuclear-free African continent in the 1990s when it disbanded its nuclear weapons arsenal. This makes it the only country in the world to build a nuclear programme and voluntarily disarm. Today, by depositing the instrument of ratification, South Africa reaffirms the continuing urgency of the threat of the use of nuclear weapons, as well as the key role that all states have in ensuring that they are banned.

The devastating and irreversible effects of nuclear weapons are still present today and the risk of them being used today is growing at an alarming rate. Nuclear weapons would cause incalculable human suffering and have global and long-term environmental, health and development consequences. Seventy countries have so far signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, while 22 have ratified the Treaty.


For further information, please contact:

Tendayi Sengwe, ICRC Southern Africa, tel: +27 66 4764446

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