Communiqué of the Member States of the
Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL)
on the occasion of the 52nd Anniversary of the Treaty of Tlatelolco and
in the year of the 50th Anniversary of the Agency’s operation
14 February 2019
The 33 Member States of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL):
1. Commemorate this day the 52nd Anniversary of the adoption of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean – Treaty of Tlatelolco.
2. Also commemorate, in 2019, 50 years of continuous work by OPANAL, ensuring the full implementation of the Treaty of Tlatelolco and affirming itself as the sole regional intergovernmental organization in the world that effectively contributes to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
3. Recall that, for more than five decades, the Treaty of Tlatelolco, with the permanent work of OPANAL, has guaranteed that Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as vast areas adjacent to their territories, are kept free of nuclear weapons, without prejudice to the exercise of the inalienable right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. This Treaty is respected by the six States Party to the Additional Protocols to the Treaty of Tlatelolco: United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China and the Netherlands.
4. Stress that the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which created the first Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in a densely populated area, has served as a source of inspiration for four other regions in the world. Consider also that the Treaty and OPANAL are an important heritage of the international community and a political, legal and institutional reference for the creation of other nuclear-weapon-free zones, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among States of the region concerned.
5. Stress that militarily denuclearized zones do not constitute an end in themselves, but rather a highly relevant intermediate step towards nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament under effective international control.
6. Reiterate their conviction that the establishment of militarily denuclearized zones is closely related to the maintenance of peace and security in the respective regions and that the military denuclearization of vast geographical zones, adopted by sovereign decision of States comprised therein, has exercised a beneficial influence on other regions.
7. Emphasizethat the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones promote peace and stability at the regional and international levels by prohibiting the possession, acquisition, development, testing, manufacturing, production, stockpiling, deployment and use of nuclear weapons.
8. Stress the importance of encouraging cooperation among the States Party and Signatories of the Treaties that established Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones in the South Pacific, in Southeast Asia, in Africa and in Central Asia, as well as Mongolia whose nuclear-weapons-free status is recognized by the United Nations.
9. Affirm their commitment to contribute to the success of the Fourth Conference of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia, in 2020, convened on 5 December 2018 by Resolution 73/71 of the United Nations General Assembly, and, in this regard, urge all the Parties and Signatories of the Treaties that establish Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones to participate actively in the preparation of the Fourth Conference, supporting Mongolia, designated coordinator of the Fourth Conference.
10. Affirm that the unequivocal and legally binding guarantees to the States belonging to Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones against the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons are a fundamental element for the regime of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and constitute a legitimate interest of the international community. In this regard, call on nuclear-weapon States that issued interpretative declarations to the Additional Protocols I and II to the Treaty of Tlatelolco which are contrary to the letter and spirit of the Treaty, to examine them together with OPANAL aiming at revising or eliminating them in order to provide full and unequivocal security assurances to the States of the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Latin America and the Caribbean; and to respect the militarily denuclearized character of the region.
11. Recall their participation in the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that prohibits the possession, development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
12. Consider that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as well as the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), once in force, will add to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco) and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) on the path towards the elimination of these weapons of mass destruction.
13. Note that these four Treaties establish norms of International Law that are legally-binding on the States which signed and ratified them; these legal instruments are not mere declarations of intention, nor can they automatically produce the disappearance of nuclear weapons; however, they are a suitable legal basis for the process aimed at eliminating all nuclear weapons forever.
14. Reiterate their commitment to participate constructively in the III Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, to be held from 29 April to 10 May 2019 in New York.
15. Stress their concern about the international situation, which, among other aspects, is characterized by continuing programs for the modernization of nuclear arsenals, the possible creation of new types of nuclear weapons delivery systems and the increasing threat of use of nuclear weapons in a context of tensions and armed conflicts and threats of terrorism. This occurs when there still are States possessing nuclear weapons, many of those on alert status.
16. Reiterate the commitment of the States of the region endorsed in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, to continue to promote nuclear disarmament as a priority objective and to contribute to general and complete disarmament in order to favour the strengthening of confidence among nations.
17. Demand that nuclear weapons not be used again by any actor, under any circumstances, what can only be assured by the prohibition and the subsequent transparent, verifiable and irreversible elimination of all nuclear weapons.