Nuclear weapons are illegal

From Friday 22 January nuclear weapons are banned under international law. Quakers are joining an array of statements, witness and worship, to welcome this historic milestone.

colourful embroidered pennants naming countries ratified
Flying the flag for disarmament

The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) makes it illegal under international law to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess, stockpile, transfer, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal being their total elimination.

Quakers in Britain have been part of the global movement, campaigning against nuclear weapons since their first use, 75 years ago.


This Treaty gives us hope and provides the real possibility of a world without nuclear weapons.

- Marigold Bentley, Quakers in Britain


In 1955, Quakers' decision-making body, Meeting for Sufferings said, "We believe that no one has the right to use [nuclear] weapons in their defence or to ask another person to use them on their behalf. To rely on the possession of nuclear weapons as a deterrent is faithless; to use them is a sin." (Quaker faith & practice 24.41)

As the UK government is not engaging with the Treaty, Quakers in Britain will continue to urge the government to sign up to it.

Marigold Bentley has written this blog. She is head of Peace Programmes and Interfaith Relations for Quakers in Britain. She says, “Decades of hard work coupled with remarkable vision have brought us to the day when we can all welcome the TPNW. It gives us hope and provides the real possibility of a world without nuclear weapons."

Quakers are joining many commemorative events:

On Friday 22 January there will be a gathering to mark and celebrate TPNW's entry into force with a Thanksgiving Service hosted by the Network of Christian Peace Organisations, of which Quaker Peace & Social Witness is a member. Click here for the Zoom link. Service begins at 11.30am.

For background details, news and comment see the Northern Friends Peace Board.

Check back here on Friday 22 January for the latest.

  • People of faith speak about striving together for peace without nuclear weapons. Watch the video here. Includes Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain.
  • Quaker Peace & Social Witness have signed a letter from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) to the Prime Minister welcoming the ban and saying the UK government has a responsibility to work with the global community on this issue.

Join Quakers campaigning for nuclear disarmament