STOCKHOLM/MEXICO CITY – Indonesia’s parliament has just taken a historic step, one that makes the planet safer from the threat of nuclear weapons. The importance of Indonesia’s decision to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty cannot be overstated. This is a golden opportunity for the remaining eight countries to endorse the CTBT, enabling it to come into legal effect.
For the five decades following World War II, a nuclear test shook and irradiated the planet on average every nine days. This era was ended in 1996, when the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. But, for the CTBT to enter into force, all 44 states specified as holders of nuclear technology must ratify it. Until they do, the specter of nuclear testing will continue to haunt us.
It is urgent that the CTBT take full legal effect around the world as soon as possible. A complete ban on all nuclear explosions would hamper the upgrading of existing nuclear arsenals and the development of new weapons, diminishing the capabilities of both current and potential nuclear-armed states. The CTBT reinforces both nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, and is essential for global, regional, and national security.
We applaud the fact that all of the nuclear-capable countries in Europe and Latin America and many in other regions in the world have ratified the CTBT. With Indonesia’s ratification, the number of countries that have yet to do so has decreased to eight: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea, and the United States. These countries have a responsibility to make the legal ban on nuclear testing a reality. We strongly urge them to reconsider the CTBT; this important instrument for peace and security will bring us a step closer to a world without the threat of nuclear weapons.