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Nuclear weapon free Latin America celebrated

News from Nicaragua | Monday, 20 February 2017 |

Poster by Carlos Garcia (Mexico) celebrating nuclear free Latin America

Poster by Carlos Garcia (Mexico) celebrating nuclear free Latin America

On 14 February Foreign Ministers of the region gathered in Mexico City to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Tlatelolco. Approved in 1967, this historic agreement prohibits the development, deployment and  testing of nuclear weapons in the region. 

It also includes a legally binding commitment by nuclear weapon states not to use their nuclear weapons against Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL) is an intergovernmental organization based in Mexico City, created by the Treaty of Tlatelolco to ensure that the region remains free of nuclear weapons.

As Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, pointed out in a speech to mark the anniversary stated: ‘The Treaty was far ahead of its time, as it would be nearly 20 years before another similar agreement would enter into force, in this case for States of the South Pacific.In addition to the South Pacific, the treaty has been a reference and an inspiration for the later development of nuclear weapon free zones in Africa, Central Asia and South-east Asia.’

The 50th anniversary celebration comes one month before the UN begins negotiations on an international treaty banning nuclear weapons.

In October, 2016 UN overwhelmingly approved a resolution (123 votes in favour, 38 against, 16 abstentions)   "to convene in 2017 a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.”

The UK voted against the resolution on the grounds that “the negotiations it mandates will not lead to progress on global nuclear disarmament.”

In reaffirming commitment to the Treaty of Tlatelolco and the UN resolution, Nicaragua stated: ‘A world in which military expenditure exceeds investment for development to overcome hunger and poverty is simply unacceptable.’