Treaty of Rarotonga


August 15, 2022

The Rarotonga Treaty, or South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, aims to create a nuclear weapons exclusion zone in the South Pacific. It was signed in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on August 6, 1985 and entered into force on December 11, 1986. Signatory states in 1985 are Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomons, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu . The treaty was subsequently ratified by all of these signatories. There are three protocols: the first relates to territories in the region held by three of the nuclear-weapon States (United States, France and United Kingdom), the second requires that the five nuclear-armed States only use, nor threaten to use nuclear weapons and the third prohibits nuclear tests on the territory of the signatory countries. France and the United Kingdom signed and ratified the three protocols in 1996; the United States signed them the same year but did not ratify them; China signed and ratified Protocols 2 and 3 in 1987.

First Protocol

Originally, the treaty was called the “South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty”. It is heavily criticized as targeting only France because of the broad omissions and "particularly selective bans" allowing other countries, including the United States and Australia, to circumvent its purpose.

List of States Parties

*Kiribati is part of the North Pacific but an integral part of the treaty. With the exception of Australia, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, all States Parties have ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which entered into force on January 22, 2021.

List of States in the Pacific not Party

Notes and References



See also

Nuclear weapon Arms Mastery Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Nuclear-free territory New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987

External links

The Treaty of Rarotonga Antoine Thirion, "35 years ago, The Treaty of Rarotonga, the hope of a denuclearized Pacific", on MAJ, August 6, 2020 (consulted on June 23, 2022) Law Portal International Relations Portal 1980s Portal