The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is ground-breaking in a number of ways. One of these is the inclusion of ‘positive obligations’ that all parties to the Treaty have agreed to. These require countries not only to prohibit, within their jurisdiction or control, everything to do with nuclear weapons, but also to take responsibility for helping to clean up the mess left behind after 70+ years of uranium mining, weapons production, nuclear testing in the atmosphere and underground, the transport and deployment of these weapons, dealing with the radioactive waste products and the results of more than 1,000 accidents involving nuclear weapons materials around the world.
Cleaning up the mess is not just an environmental challenge, but also a humanitarian one. Most of the human victims of the nuclear age have been indigenous peoples – the people of the islands of the South Pacific, the people of Kazakhstan and northern Siberia, the people of Algeria, the Native Americans of the Southwest United States and the Aboriginal People of Australia. Many others have also been affected, including each and every one of us on this planet – since the radioactive fallout from atmospheric tests in the 1950s and 60s spread across the entire globe and made its way into the food chain…
You can read the text of Article 6 of the Treaty here.
And here are some things you can do to help raise awareness of these issues, to campaign on behalf of the victims who are still being affected by this mess, to support environmental clean-up and to call on federal, state and local governments to do more to address these issues.