African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty
The African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba (named after South Africa's main Nuclear Research Centre, run by The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation and was the location where South Africa's atomic bombs of the 1970s were developed, constructed and subsequently stored), establishes a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Africa. The treaty was signed in 1996 and came into effect with the 28th ratification on 15 July 2009.
The Treaty prohibits the research, development, manufacture, stockpiling, acquisition, testing, possession, control or stationing of nuclear explosive devices in the territory of parties to the Treaty and the dumping of radioactive wastes in the African zone by Treaty parties. The Treaty also prohibits any attack against nuclear installations in the zone by Treaty parties and requires them to maintain the highest standards of physical protection of nuclear material, facilities and equipment, which are to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes. The Treaty requires all parties to apply full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to all their peaceful nuclear activities. A mechanism to verify compliance, including the establishment of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy, has been established by the Treaty. Its office will be in South Africa. The Treaty affirms the right of each party to decide for itself whether to allow visits by foreign ships and aircraft to its ports and airfields, explicitly upholds the freedom of navigation on the high seas and does not affect rights to passage through territorial waters guaranteed by international law.
Area of application
"African nuclear-weapon-free zone" means the territory of the continent of Africa, island states that are members of OAU, and all islands considered by the Organization of African Unity in its resolutions to be part of Africa; "Territory" means the land territory, internal waters, territorial seas and archipelagic waters and the airspace above them as well as the seabed and subsoil beneath.
The African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (ANWFZ) covers the entire African continent as well as the following islands: Agaléga Islands, Bassas da India, Cabo Verde, Canary Islands, Cargados Carajos, Chagos Archipelago - Diego Garcia, Comoros, Europa Island, Juan de Nova, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Prince Edward & Marion Islands, São Tomé and Príncipe, Réunion, Rodrigues Island, Seychelles, Tromelin Island, and Zanzibar and Pemba Islands.
This list does not mention the mid-ocean islands of St. Helena 1,900 km west from southern Angola or its dependencies including Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha, Bouvet Island 2,500 km southwest from Cape Town, the Crozet Islands 2,350 km south of Madagascar, Kerguelen, or Île Amsterdam and Île Saint-Paul, which, (with American Samoa in the Pacific Ocean), are the only Southern Hemisphere lands not in any of the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones.
The quest for a nuclear free Africa began when the Organization of African Unity formally stated its desire for a Treaty ensuring the denuclearization of Africa at its first Summit in Cairo in July 1964. The Treaty was opened for signature on 11 April 1996 in Cairo, Egypt. All the States of Africa are eligible to become parties to the Treaty, which will enter into force upon its 28th ratification; the Protocols with also come into force at that time for those Protocol signatories that have deposited their instruments of ratification. It was reported in 1996 that no African Arab state would ratify the Treaty until Israel renounces its nuclear weapons program. However, Algeria, Libya, and Mauritania have since ratified the Treaty.
The United Nations General Assembly has passed without a vote identical resolutions in 1997 (twice), 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2005 calling upon African States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible so that it may enter into force without delay, and for States contemplated in Protocol III to take all necessary measures to ensure its speedy application. A resolution had been passed in 1995 in support of the final text of the Treaty.
Ratified or acceded states
|Algeria||Apr 11, 1996||Feb 11, 1998||Ratification|
|Angola||Apr 11, 1996||Jun 20, 2014||Ratification|
|Benin||Apr 11, 1996||Sep 4, 2007||Ratification|
|Botswana||Jun 9, 1998||Jun 16, 1999||Ratification|
|Burkina Faso||Apr 11, 1996||Aug 27, 1998||Ratification|
|Burundi||Apr 11, 1996||Jul 15, 2009||Ratification|
|Cabo Verde||Apr 11, 1996||Feb 7, 2020||Ratification|
|Cameroon||Apr 11, 1996||Sep 28, 2010||Ratification|
|Chad||Apr 11, 1996||Jan 18, 2012||Ratification|
|Comoros||Apr 11, 1996||Jul 24, 2012||Ratification|
|Congo, Democratic Republic of the||Apr 11, 1996||Feb 23, 2022||Ratification|
|Congo, Republic of the||Jan 27, 1997||Nov 26, 2013||Ratification|
|Côte d'Ivoire||Apr 11, 1996||Jul 28, 1999||Ratification|
|Equatorial Guinea||Feb 19, 2003||Accession|
|Ethiopia||Apr 11, 1996||Mar 13, 2008||Ratification|
|Gabon||Apr 11, 1996||Jun 12, 2007||Ratification|
|Gambia||Apr 11, 1996||Oct 16, 1996||Ratification|
|Ghana||Apr 11, 1996||Jun 27, 2011||Ratification|
|Guinea||Apr 11, 1996||Jan 21, 2000||Ratification|
|Guinea-Bissau||Apr 11, 1996||Jan 4, 2012||Ratification|
|Kenya||Apr 11, 1996||Jan 9, 2001||Ratification|
|Lesotho||Apr 11, 1996||Mar 14, 2002||Ratification|
|Libya||Apr 11, 1996||May 11, 2005||Ratification|
|Madagascar||Dec 23, 2003||Accession|
|Malawi||Apr 11, 1996||Apr 23, 2009||Ratification|
|Mali||Apr 11, 1996||Jul 22, 1999||Ratification|
|Mauritania||Apr 11, 1996||Feb 24, 1998||Ratification|
|Mauritius||Apr 11, 1996||Apr 24, 1996||Ratification|
|Morocco||Apr 11, 1996||Apr 18, 2022||Ratification|
|Mozambique||Apr 11, 1996||Aug 28, 2008||Ratification|
|Namibia||Apr 11, 1996||Mar 1, 2012||Ratification|
|Niger||Apr 11, 1996||Feb 22, 2017||Ratification|
|Nigeria||Apr 11, 1996||Jun 18, 2001||Ratification|
|Rwanda||Apr 11, 1996||Feb 1, 2007||Ratification|
|Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic||Jun 20, 2006||Jan 27, 2014||Ratification|
|Senegal||Apr 11, 1996||Oct 25, 2006||Ratification|
|Seychelles||Jul 9, 1996||May 23, 2014||Ratification|
|South Africa||Apr 11, 1996||Mar 27, 1998||Ratification|
|Swaziland||Apr 11, 1996||Jul 17, 2000||Ratification|
|Tanzania||Apr 11, 1996||Jun 19, 1998||Ratification|
|Togo||Apr 11, 1996||Jul 18, 2000||Ratification|
|Tunisia||Apr 11, 1996||Oct 7, 2009||Ratification|
|Zambia||Apr 11, 1996||Aug 18, 2010||Ratification|
|Zimbabwe||Apr 11, 1996||Apr 6, 1998||Ratification|
States that have signed but not ratified
All countries are members of the African Union
|Central African Republic||Apr 11, 1996|
|Djibouti||Apr 11, 1996|
|Egypt||Apr 11, 1996|
|Eritrea||Apr 11, 1996|
|Liberia||Jul 9, 1996|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||Jul 9, 1996|
|Sierra Leone||Apr 11, 1996|
|Somalia||Feb 23, 2006|
|Sudan||Apr 11, 1996|
|Uganda||Apr 11, 1996|
|South Sudan - (part of Sudan until July 2011)|
Nuclear weapons states and the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone
The Treaty has three Protocols.
- Under Protocol I, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and the People's Republic of China are invited to agree not to use or threaten to use a nuclear explosive device against any Treaty party or against any territory of a Protocol III party within the African zone.
- Under Protocol II, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and China are invited to agree not to test or assist or encourage the testing of a nuclear explosive device anywhere within the African zone.
- Protocol III is open to states with dependent territories in the zone and obligates them to observe certain provisions of the Treaty with respect to these territories; only Spain and France may become Parties to it.
The United Kingdom, France, the Russian Federation and China have signed and ratified the Protocols, but the United States has yet to ratify. Spain has neither signed nor ratified Protocol III.
The United States has supported the concept of the denuclearization of Africa since the first United Nations General Assembly resolution on this issue in 1965 and has played an active role in drafting the final text of the Treaty and Protocols. The United States signed Protocols I and II in 1996, but has not ratified them. In May 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the Obama Administration would submit these protocols to the U.S. Senate for advice and consent to ratification.
The status of the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, controlled by the United Kingdom and used as a military base by the United States, with regard to the Treaty is unclear. Diego Garcia is part of the Chagos Archipelago claimed by Mauritius. The other islands of the Chagos Archipelago are considered in Africa and are under the treaty, but neither the United States nor the United Kingdom recognizes Diego Garcia as being subject to the Treaty.
To allow for the verification of its nuclear non-proliferation undertaking, the Treaty requires parties to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements with the IAEA equivalent to the agreements required in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Twenty-one States in Africa have yet to bring such agreements into force. The IAEA encourages them to bring these agreements into force as soon as possible.
According to Article 12 (Mechanism for compliance) of the Treaty, after entry-into-force, the Parties agree to establish an African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE). In addition to being a compliance mechanism, the Commission will be responsible for encouraging regional and sub-regional programmes for co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology. The establishment of AFCONE would also: encourage African states to take responsibility for their natural resources, and in particular nuclear material; and protect against the dumping of toxic waste.
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