“I would like to commend the governments of the Central African Republic and Trinidad and Tobago for this important step that shows not only their commitment, but also the contribution that small countries can bring to advancing the cause of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament by promoting the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and its universalization,” said Sergio Duarte, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, on Wednesday, 26 May 2010. The ceremony of presentation of the ratifications took place in the exhibition “Putting an end to nuclear explosions” in the visitors’ lobby of the UN building in New York.
The CTBT ratification by the Central African Republic and Trinidad and Tobago brought to 153 the number of countries bound by the global ban on all nuclear explosions. “Ratification by the two nations shows the significance of the role that every single State has to play in creating and sustaining momentum in favor of this Treaty,” said Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
“Following the great news from Indonesia that it will soon ratify the Treaty and reduce to eight the number of States whose ratification is necessary for its entry into force, these two additional ratifications bring us closer to the universality of the Treaty,” Tóth said.
The Central African Republic signed the CTBT on 19 December 2001. In the last decade its experts have participated in a number of CTBTO organized training events and workshops. Bangui, the nation’s capital and largest city, will host two CTBTO monitoring stations: a seismic station, PS11, that has been installed; an infrasound station IS12 is still in the planning stage.
Of Africa’s 53 States, 51 have signed the Treaty and 38 have also ratified it; Somalia and Mauritius have still to sign. Commitment by African States to the test-ban was also supported by the entry into force of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba) in July 2009, which bans research, any acquisition, possession or control as well as testing of nuclear weapons.
Trinidad and Tobago is the 30th State in Latin America and the Caribbean to ratify the CTBT. It signed the Treaty on 9 October 2009. Among the region’s 33 States, Cuba and Dominica are the only remaining States that have yet to sign it. Guatemala is the only signatory State that has yet to ratify. All States in Latin America and the Caribbean are party to the 1967 Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Treaty of Tlatelolco) which bans the testing, use, acquisition by any means or possession of nuclear weapons.
The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions. 182 countries have signed the Treaty, of which 153 will soon have also ratified it. Of the 44 countries that have to ratify the Treaty for entry into force, 35 have already done so. The remaining nine are: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States. On 3 May 2010, Indonesia stated it had initiated the CTBT ratification process.
The CTBTO is building a verification regime to monitor the planet for compliance with the Treaty. When complete, 337 facilities worldwide will monitor underground, the oceans and the atmosphere for any sign of a nuclear explosion. To date, 80 per cent of the monitoring facilities send data to the International Data Centre (IDC) in the CTBTO headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
“I echo the Secretary-General who has called on those states that have not yet signed or ratified the CTBT to join the international consensus to end nuclear testing. I hope that actions such as those taken today by the Governments of the Central African Republic and Trinidad and Tobago will inspire further ratifications,” concluded Duarte.