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Tilman Ruff: the Ban Treaty has fundamentally changed the game

September 28, 2020

On September 22, IPPNW co-president Tilman Ruff spoke with Jonathan Kolieb of RMIT University in Melbourne as part of the Australian interview series “Better Place.”

The elimination of nuclear weapons, Dr. Ruff said, “depends crucially and fundamentally on those states that own them deciding to get rid of them. The current reality, regrettably, is that that’s not the case. None of those nine states is serious about their more than half-a-century old political, legal, and moral obligation to get rid of these weapons.”

Referring to other indiscriminate and inhumane weapons—chemical, biological weapons, landmines, and cluster munitions—Dr. Ruff pointed out that treaties prohibiting such weapons have “fundamentally changed the game…” The lesson in relation to nuclear weapons was that “what the rest of the world could do…was conclude a prohibition instrument.”

“The work of using the Treaty to increase the stigma associated with nuclear weapons and to build the work of eliminating the weapons with divestment in particular is well under way already. The more signatories and ratifications it has, the stronger its legal, moral and political force. So we’re not going to stop at 50.

“How do we use [the Treaty] in the nuclear-dependent states and nuclear-armed states to really push the case for elimination? That’s a big piece of ongoing work, to build up the stigma, to build the civil society support, the divestment campaigns, to educate future leaders.”

The entire one-hour interview is on YouTube.

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