LFP for Peace celebrates new U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Saturday, January 23, 2021

LFP for Peace demonstrating on Freeway overpass

By Glen Milner

Lake Forest Park for Peace members held a banner and signs at the NE 145th and I-5 overpass on January 22 -- the day that the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force.

The TPNW outlaws not only the use of nuclear weapons, but everything to do with nuclear weapons, making it illegal under international law for participating countries to “develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess, or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

While the treaty’s prohibitions are legally binding only in the countries (51 so far) that become “States Parties” to the treaty, those prohibitions go beyond just the activities of governments. Article 1(e) of the treaty prohibits States Parties from assisting “anyone” engaged in any of those prohibited activities, including private companies and individuals who may be involved in the nuclear weapons business.

More and more countries will be joining the TPNW in the coming months and years, and the pressure on private companies involved in the nuclear weapons business will continue to grow. These companies are already facing public and financial pressures not only from States Parties, but also from within their own countries. Two of the five largest pension funds in the world have divested from nuclear weapons, and other financial institutions are following their example.

Nuclear weapons still exist largely because the companies involved in the business wield such enormous power over government policies and decision-making, especially in the United States. They are among the largest donors to congressional re-election campaigns and spend millions of dollars on lobbying in Washington, D.C.

U.S. policy towards nuclear weapons will change when those companies involved with nuclear weapons start to feel real pressure from the TPNW and realize that their own futures depend on diversifying their activities away from nuclear weapons.

Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor is located less than 20 miles from Lake Forest Park and Shoreline areas and is homeport to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S. The nuclear warheads are deployed on Trident D-5 missiles on SSBN submarines and are stored in an underground nuclear weapons storage facility on the base.

Our proximity to the largest number of deployed nuclear weapons demands a deeper reflection and response to the threat of nuclear war.

The ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons could not have come at a more critical time — while enormous resources are being poured into nuclear weapons “modernization” and with the growing risk of nuclear war. The TPNW is a significant tool for nuclear disarmament, providing a path for the future and a cause for celebration.


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