By Patrick Biddah
The Foundation For Security and Development in Africa ( FOSDA) and its counterparts Civil Society Organizations ( CSOs) have set in motion the activities that will see Ghana ratifying the United Nations (UN) Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear weapons.
It has, thus urged the govnement to as a matter of urgency, take the steps to ratify same after it signed the treaty in 2017.
At a workshop in Accra on the UN Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear weapons which was organized in collaboration with the International Campaign To Abolish Nuclear Weapons( ICAN) , FOSDA expressed the believe that Ghana being a trailblazer in peace and security on the continent, will encourage other countries to sign up and eventually ratify if they do so.
The Executive Director of FOSDA, Mrs. Theodora W Anti , in a speech to open Civil Society Organizations ( CSO) workshop on the subject which brought together other stakeholders from the defence, security , legal and nuclear environment , called on the government to ratify the Treaty without delay .
This was in view of growing threats emanating from countries with nuclear weapons such as Russia and North Korea.
She was not pleased about the fact that ever since the country signed the treaty in 2017 , it has not as yet ratified it .
She explained among others that Ghana stand the chance of deriving financial and logistical benefits when it ratifies the Treaty.
But most importantly for her is that Ghana will become the beneficiary of global peace in the sense that it will not support any country that will use nuclear weapons and as such will not use it either in view of Its devastating effect on humans.
The Treaty was opened for signatories in 2017 by the United Nations and came into force in 2021. From that time, however, 98 countries have signed with 62 that have already ratified it.
What this means is that, these 62 countries have committed themselves and have banned the use of nuclear weapons.
These countries, include Nigeria and South Africa which are in Africa. It is the reason why FOSDA also thinks Ghana has no excuse by not ratifying the Treaty by now because they have always led the way in safety and security subjects like this .
So far, Russia , the United Kingdom, Israel, the United States, France, China India and Pakistan, have all developed nuclear weapons.
But responding and giving an update on the Ghana situation at the workshop, a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Barima Asutifi, gave the assurance of Ghana being on course to ratifying the Treaty.
He was hopeful it will be rarified by June of this year, because all the processes are ongoing smoothly without any challenges.
For example, he said Cabinet will give it approval and it will go to Parliament for it to be looked at before the President will assent and eventually taking to New York for it to be rarified.
All of these steps, he pointed out have not encountered any challenge in getting to the final stage.
He expressed the optimism of Ghana taking part in the next State Parties which is expected to come off in November this year .
Outlining the effects of the use of nuclear weapons in a presentation, the President of Women International League For Peace and Freedom ( WILPF) Madam Ayo Amaale, cited the changes in the DNA of humans to the destruction of plants, water bodies and radiation poisoning as some of the effects of nuclear weapons which should be enough basis for countries to ban its use by ratifying the Treaty.
On his part , a representative from the Ghana Commission on Small Arms who doubles as the lead in Ghana’s signing and ratification process , Mr Leonard Tetteh indicated Ghana would have ratified the Treaty by now if not for the challenge in identifying which institution to handle the process .
For him , Ghana’s foreign policy does not promote the use of nuclear weapons and was therefore sure the Treaty will be rarified.
At the end of the workshop, a coalition was suggested to be formed in order to put pressure for the ratification process .