Australia must backup its promise not to acquire nuclear weapons by signing UN treaty

Amnesty International Australia welcomes Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Peter Dutton’s assurances that despite Australia’s decision to purchase nuclear submarines, that “Australia has no plans to acquire nuclear weapons”.

Sam Klintworth, National Director of Amnesty International Australia, has written to the Prime Minister, urging the government to backup its recommitment to nuclear non-proliferation by signing the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The treaty came into force on 22 January 2021. It makes it illegal under international law to develop, test, possess, host, use, or threaten to use nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons have been the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a global ban treaty, despite the catastrophic harm they inflict. The treaty brings us one step closer to abolishing the nuclear threat for good.

Two-thirds of UN member states have adopted the treaty. Amnesty International is disappointed that Australia has not.

According to Klintworth’s letter:

There is no good reason for Australia not to support a nuclear-weapon-free world. The use of nuclear weapons is incompatible with the protection of human rights, including the right to peace and the right to life. It is also a threat to people’s right to be free from torture.