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19 May 2021

The PELINDABA Treaty establishing a nuclear weapons free zone in Africa was signed on 11 April 1996. To mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of this treaty, WILPF Cameroon and its partners CANSA (Cameroon Action Network on Small Arms) and Cameroon for a World Beyond War, organised a press conference on Monday 12 April 2021 in Yaoundé. The organisers are aware that both nuclear weapons “disproportionately affect women and girls, particularly due to the effects of ionising radiation”, the participation of women in the sphere of nuclear disarmament is important.
This meeting, which brought together media men and women, members of civil society organisations and a government representative through the Ministry of Justice, served as a framework for informing the public about the constitution of a nuclear weapon in order to present its damage on humanity and the environment. This setting was an opportunity to present the stakes of Cameroon’s ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (CTBT).
Participants at the event learnt that, for both military and civilian reasons, the exploitation of nuclear energy exposes humanity to serious risks. Nuclear weapons produce thermonuclear effects that are a million times more devastating than the most powerful conventional weapons. An example is the atomic bomb dropped on the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945. Disasters resulting from the manipulation of nuclear energy, such as Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, Fukushima in Japan on 11 March 2011, Kyshtyn in the USSR in 1957, Ontario in Canada in 1952, Three Mile Island in the United States in 1979, Goiânia in Brazil in 1987, Tokaimura in Tokyo in Japan on 30 September 1999, etc. These effects can be immediate with the blast, thermal waves and instantaneous radiation causing deaths and injuries, but they can also be medium or long term causing trauma, psychological sequelae and persistent injuries, extensive and suppurating burns; skin infections; gastrointestinal infections, congenital and systemic deformities and all forms of pollution.
Cameroon has been present and is part of the vast majority of agreements and measures concluded to prohibit the development, trade and any form of exploitation of these types of weapons on the African continent and in the world. These include
The vote by Cameroon in favour of the adoption of the resolution that established the mandate of States to start negotiations on the ATT within the framework of the work of the First Committee of the UNGA;
The adoption in 2016 at the national level of a law on the arms and munitions regime, which includes the prohibition of nuclear weapons;
Cameroon’s alignment with all the commitments made under the CTBT.
However, it should be noted that all these good advances have not yet been crowned as they should be by the signature and ratification of the TIAN. It is hoped that this event will activate the levers for this important step towards the universalisation of the TIAN, in view of its importance for humanity and the environment as a whole, as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) depend closely on its implementation for their achievement.

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