First Parish Bell will Sound to Celebrate Nuclear Ban Treaty

January 16, 2021
At First Parish on Bedford Common

The Blinn bell at First Parish in Bedford will sound come noon Friday, Jan. 22 to celebrate the entry into force of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty makes nuclear weapons – and everything to do with them—illegal in the 50 countries that have ratified it so far. The Peace and Justice Committee of First Parish joined groups all around the globe recognizing this milestone.

Initially approved in 2017 as a result of the Nobel Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the treaty was ratified by the 50th nation last October and now goes into force for those counties. Others are in the process of ratifying it. It grew out of international consensus that the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons are too terrible for any country to possess them. It comes some 75 years after the first UN resolution to address the “problem of the atomic bomb.”

The nuclear-armed nations have not yet joined, but it affects ALL nations in significant ways. Companies involved with nuclear weapons, including those in the US, are prohibited from doing any kind of business in countries that ratify the treaty. It establishes legal obligations toward those harmed by nuclear weapons or their production. Finally, it builds an international stigma against nuclear weapons, just like other weapons of mass destruction. Pressure is growing for the US to join.

MUCH work lies ahead, but in the words of its proponents, the TPNW is perhaps “the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons.”

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