Ghana National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons (GNACSA)

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GHANA"S PARTICIPATION AT THE UN CONFERENCE ON THE TREATY ON THE PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS

GHANA"S DELEGATION LED BY HON. DOMINIC NITIWUL, MINISTER FOR DEFENCE (MOD) IN THE MIDDLE, FROM EXTREME RIGHT IS MR. JONES APPLERH, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, NACSA, BRIG. GEN. M. ASANTE, AND FROM EXTREME LEFT IS MAJOR M. NANKPON, AND BRIG.GEN. E. FIAWOO

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons establishes normative and legal commitments and practices to prohibit nuclear weapons. The Treaty however allows the use of nuclear materials for industrial and scientific purposes.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted Friday 7th July 2017 and will open for signature by states at the United Nations in New York on 20 September 2017.

Ghana"s Interventions

Title

Ghana supported the call made by a number of States particularly South Africa for the title of the draft Instrument to be changed from a Convention to a Treaty. This call was later supported by a number of States and finally accepted by the Conference.

Preamble

Ghana supported the proposal made by Brazil to recognize the unacceptable risk of nuclear weapons to civilians and to include a reference to the lack of an ability to deal with catastrophic humanitarian consequences. Ghana joined a number of States to call for the reference of the text of the preamble to be made to all existing IHL.

Transiting

On the issue of Transiting of nuclear weapons through States, Ghana urged States not to allow its territories to be used to transit any of the items prohibited under the Treaty. 

Victim Assistance

Ghana called for victim assistance to be made mandatory for all States rather than an option for States in the position to do so. 

Withdrawal

Ghana urged on the Conference that withdrawal clauses/articles are inconsistent with aims of the Treaty which prohibits nuclear weapons. Ghana therefore called for the withdrawal clauses to be deleted entirely. Ghana proposed that the Vienna Conventions on the Law of Treaties provisions on withdrawal from treaties should govern, withdrawal by States Parties to the Treaty. 

Observation

None of the world"s nuclear-armed nations, including the United States, participated in the talks. Nor did any NATO members other than the Netherlands, which is one of five nations storing U.S.-owned nuclear weapons. This however did not take much away from the negotiations.

Non-proliferations groups nonetheless hailed the Treaty"s step as a victory, even without the participation of the world"s major nuclear powers.

While the Treaty itself will not immediately eliminate any nuclear weapons, the Treaty has stigmatized nuclear weapons and over time, it will further illegitimize nuclear weapons and strengthen the legal and political norm against their stockpile, production and possible use.

Recommendation

The majority of United Nations Member States including Ghana who do not have nuclear weapons but would suffer immensely from their use made a strong case in support of the Treaty.

In this regard, these States including Ghana would be expected to sign the Treaty when it is opened for signature by states at the United Nations in New York on 20 September 2017.

It is also recommended that Ghana establish or designate an institution to coordinate the implementation of disarmament Treaties including this Treaty. It is noted that currently it is the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons that has the mandate on Arms control and regulation and can take up disarmament responsibilities. In view of the fact that the Commission has built capacity in coordinating similar instruments on disarmament, government should therefore consider expanding the mandate of the Commission to be able to carry out this coordination role effectively.



Updated: 15th September 2017