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African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba) 

Sections

General Provisions

Current Status

Treaty Text and Documents

References and Links

General Provisions
The African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (ANWFZ) Treaty, known as the Treaty of Pelindaba, prohibits contracting parties from conducting research on, developing, manufacturing, stockpiling, acquiring, or possessing any nuclear explosive devices.  Similar to the Treaty of Rarotonga, the Treaty of Pelindaba also bans the dumping of radioactive material anywhere in the region and allows each party to decide for itself whether to permit the visit or transit of foreign ships and aircraft through its territory.  However, Pelindaba goes beyond the treaties of Tlatelolco and Rarotonga with some of its provisions.  It prohibits research and the seeking of assistance for research on nuclear explosive devices. The Treaty also calls for the dismantlement and destruction of any nuclear explosive device manufactured before the Treaty’s entry into force; “the physical protection of nuclear materials, facilities and equipment to prevent theft or unauthorized use;” and “the prohibition of armed attack by conventional or other means against nuclear installations in the zone.”

To verify compliance, each party to the Treaty must apply full-scope IAEA safeguards to its nuclear activities.  The Treaty also provides for the establishment of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) to supplement the safeguards.

The Treaty lists several protocols that require the signature and ratification of extra-zonal parties:  (1) it calls for all NPT-designated nuclear weapon states (NWS) to refrain from using or threatening to use nuclear explosive devices against any party to the treaty; (2) it prohibits NWS from testing or assisting the testing of any nuclear explosive device within the ANWFZ; (3) Spain and France—two countries responsible for territories in the zone—are required to apply the Treaty’s prohibitions to their respective territories.

Current Status
The Treaty of Pelindaba was opened for signature on April 11, 1996, when 47 of the region’s 53 states signed.  All of the NWS—with the exception of Russia—signed the Treaty’s first two protocols on that day.  Russia’s unwillingness to sign the protocols resulted from an ambiguity it saw in the U.S. and U.K. position on the militarization of Diego Garcia Island in the Indian Ocean.  The United States and the United Kingdom maintain that neither the treaty nor its protocols apply to the island and, therefore, do not preclude the presence of U.S. nuclear weapons there.  Russia eventually signed Protocols I and II on May 11, 1996.  France has signed and ratified Protocol3; however, Spain has done neither.  As of 2001, China, France, and the United Kingdom have all ratified Protocols I and II of the Treaty. U.S. and Russian ratification of these protocols is still pending.

As per Article 18, the Treaty entered into force on July 15, 2009, when Burundi became the twenty-eighth state to deposit its instrument of ratification. 

References and Links
African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (Treaty of Pelindaba). (2010, June 22). Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Retrieved from http://www.nti.org/e_research/official_docs/inventory/pdfs/anwfz.pdf

Graham, T., & LaVera, D. J. (2003). Treaty of Pelindaba. In Cornerstones of Security: Arms Control Treaties in the Nuclear Era (pp. 24-30). Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.

Jones, R. W., McDonough, M. G., & Spector, L. S. (1998). Appendix E: Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones. In Tracking Nuclear Proliferation:  A Guide in Maps & Charts, 1998 (pp. 301-305). Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  Retrieved from http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/Tracking_AppE.pdf

Regehr, E. (2009). Africa as a nuclear-weapon-free zone. The Ploughshares Monitor, 30(3). Retrieved from http://www.ploughshares.ca/libraries/monitor/mons09e.pdf