Will Africa Say No to Nukes? | Sojourners

Will Africa Say No to Nukes?

When two more African na­tions ratify the Pelindaba anti-nuclear weapons treaty, the globe’s Southern hemisphere will become a nuclear weapons-free zone. In March 2008, Mozambique unanimously ratified the treaty, and it is likely that Namibia and Zambia will follow suit in 2009. When that happens, Africa will join the other nuclear weapons-free zones of Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific, South­east Asia, and Central Asia. “The global majority is sending a signal to the small minority in the north that it is possible to secure your defense without these abominable weapons,” Jonathan Frerichs, from the World Coun­cil of Churches, told Sojourners.

Nuclear weapon-free zones, said Mozambique’s foreign minister when introducing the ratification bill, “are one of the most effective means of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and promoting general and complete disarmament,” according to All­Africa news. No African countries have nuclear weapons. Under Nelson Mandela, South Africa became the only country to ever dismantle an existing nuclear weapons program.

The Pelindaba Treaty, unlike previous nonproliferation agree­ments, mandates that members dismantle and de­stroy any nuclear explosive device manufactured prior to the treaty coming into force. In addition, the treaty makes possible regulations on exporting uranium that require mining companies to certify the uranium for non-weapons use.

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Sojourners Magazine April 2009
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