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Questioning the status of the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons as a ‘humanitarian disarmament’ agreement

Evans, C. P. (2021) Questioning the status of the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons as a ‘humanitarian disarmament’ agreement. Utrecht Journal of International and European Law, 36 (1). pp. 52-74. ISSN 2053-5341

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5334/ujiel.532


On 22 January 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force. The TPNW has resulted in a mixed response from the international community, instigating much discussion on certain provisions and features of the TPNW. Yet underpinning these analyses rests a commonly shared premise; that the TPNW constitutes a further example of humanitarian disarmament, placing the interests of victims and humanity at the centre of discussions of nuclear weapons and disarmament. This article seeks to reveal a coinciding yet somewhat underexplored, hidden nature of the TPNW by demonstrating how the treaty also incorporates State-based security-driven interests alongside these humanitarian aspirations. While most commentators do not deny the existence of such interests at stake in the TPNW process, few have analysed the extent to which State-based security considerations have been incorporated in the final text of the TPNW. After having revealed the continued presence of State-centred security considerations in the TPNW’s negotiation, preambular provisions and operative text, this article concludes by discussing some possible implications stemming from the determination that the TPNW is inspired by, and reflects, both humanitarian and security objectives.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Law
ID Code:96694
Publisher:Ubiquity Press


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