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Pelindaba Treaty Resources
Collected resources on the African Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty).
Updated: Aug 17, 2009
African Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty) Resources
This "Ratification Pack" briefly outlines the Pelindaba Treaty and describes the procedures that most African States need to follow in order to ratify or accede to this treaty and to implement its provisions.
Useful Articles & Presentations
As one of five nuclear weapon free zones (NWFZs) covering more than 110 states, the Pelindaba Treaty is a key component of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, designed not only to further enhance African nations' obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), but to represent a zonal approach to global nuclear weapon elimination by significantly shrinking the areas for which nuclear weapons are seen as a requirement for national or regional security. The Pelindaba Treaty is unique in this regard as it is the first NWFZ accord to include a disarmament provision setting a new standard for future NWFZs, including the already established Central Asia zone and, even more importantly, a future NWFZ in the Middle East.
While reaffirming African states' legal commitments under the NPT not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons programs, and to implement comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA (also an NPT requirement), the Pelindaba Treaty requires the dismantlement and destruction of any nuclear explosive device manufactured prior to the treaty coming into force. States are also required to destroy or convert facilities for the manufacture of nuclear explosive devices. The IAEA, together with the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), will be responsible for the verification of this process. The treaty also calls for active peaceful use cooperation in the nuclear field and provides for a regional commission — AFCONE — to promote cooperation among African states, and with states and organizations outside the region.
The legal and technical aspects of IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreements (CSAs) are often held as reasons by some for not being able to ratify the Pelindaba Treaty. However, since all African states are party to the NPT, this is already a mandatory requirement. Moreover, adherence to safeguards is not a precondition to Pelindaba membership, since the treaty allows states parties an 18 month grace period to implement this obligation. To date 13 of the non-ratifying states already have CSAs in place, and should therefore have no legal problems in ratifying the treaty.
The Treaty also requires the nuclear weapons states (NWS) to provide legally binding security guarantees that they will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any African state. While the United Kingdom, France and China have already signed and ratified the "negative security assurances" protocol to the treaty, the United States and Russia have yet to ratify. The Pelindaba Treaty also forever bans any nuclear testing or placement of nuclear weapons on African territory. Given that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is likely to take several years to enter into force, this is an important mechanism to ensure that no nuclear testing on the African continent.
Bringing the African zone into force will therefore be a significant building block towards a world free of nuclear weapons. In fact, the entry into force of the African zone would create a de facto nuclear weapons free zone in the Southern Hemisphere.
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