Nuclear Weapons

The catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use – in armed conflict or testing – are well known. But until recently, there was no global treaty that absolutely prohibited nuclear weapons. This gap was closed by the ground-breaking Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which 122 nations adopted in the United Nations in July 2017.

Carina Bentata Gryting JD ’18 and Alice Osman LLM ’17 at the negotiations for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. March 2017.

In 2017, through Clinic partner Article 36, the Clinic worked with ICAN (the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) on the negotiations for the TPNW. The Clinic’s work centered on ensuring that the treaty contained strong provisions requiring states to assist nuclear weapon victims and remediate contaminated environments. ICAN’s success in driving forward the treaty negotiations with a focus on nuclear weapons’ humanitarian consequences led to the organization receiving the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, a success that the Clinic shared in.

In 2018, the Clinic is continuing its work on victim assistance and environmental remediation. The Clinic has partnered with academics and non-governmental organizations to develop tools for states to implement their treaty obligations to victims and the environment.

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