31. Oktober 2023

Civil society calls for renewed push for all states to join nuclear test ban treaty

Nuclear weapons experts from across international civil society are calling on the international community to pressure the states that have yet to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to do so urgently and to urge Russia to re-ratify it.

Russia’s decision to revoke its ratification of the treaty by pointing to the United States failure to ratify it is a wake up call to states that still need to ratify the CTBT to do so, in order for the treaty to enter into force.

In the light of this, the signatories are calling for all countries that have signed and ratified the CTBT and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) to urge the eight states that have yet to ratify the CTBT (China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States) to do so. In addition, the experts call for international pressure on Russia to reverse its de-ratification of the treaty.

They also urge all CTBT states with testing facilities to negotiate voluntary confidence building measures to ensure that ongoing experiments at former nuclear test sites are consistent with the the treaty.

Since the CTBT was adopted in 1996, none of the main nuclear-armed states have carried out a test, but the experts say Russia’s recent action, despite Moscow’s assurances it will continue to abide by the treaty as long as the United States does not carry out a test, is a retrograde step that increases the likelihood that nuclear-armed states will resume testing.  

In a letter sent to every CTBT and TPNW state party and signatory, the experts say that although it has yet to enter into force, the CTBT is “one of the most successful and valuable agreements in the long history of nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, and disarmament …. since the conclusion of the treaty in 1996, it has been signed by 187 countries, and nuclear testing has become taboo.”

The signatories come from leading civil society organisations, including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the Arms Control Association, Soka Gakkai International, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Reaching Critical Will, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the Project on Managing the Atom at the Belfer Center.

A full copy of the letter is available on request.

For more information and interview requests contact: 
Alistair Burnett, ICAN Head of Media: alistair@icanw.org +41 78 238 7179