There is growing recognition that a treaty banning nuclear weapons can and should be agreed even without the participation of nuclear armed states. This briefing paper argues that such an instrument would strengthen protection from the humanitarian threat of nuclear weapons by reinforcing norms against them and making their use less likely. Simply banning nuclear weapons will not guarantee their elimination, but it will serve as a necessary and practical next step towards a world in which all weapons of mass destruction have been outlawed, and are being eliminated.

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