Today in African History: 11th April

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On this day in 1996, Forty-three African nations signed the African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty and came into effect with the 28th ratification on 15 July 2009….

The African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba (named after South Africa’s main Nuclear Research Centre, is run by The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation. The corporation, which was the location where South Africa’s atomic bombs of the 1970s were developed, constructed and subsequently stored, establishes a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Africa.

The Treaty prohibits the research, development, manufacture, stockpiling, acquisition, testing, possession, control or stationing of nuclear explosive devices in the territory of parties to the Treaty and the dumping of radioactive wastes in the African zone by Treaty parties. The Treaty also prohibits any attack against nuclear installations in the zone by Treaty parties and requires them to maintain the highest standards of physical protection of nuclear material, facilities and equipment, which are to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes.

The Treaty requires all parties to apply full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency  safeguards to all their peaceful nuclear activities. A mechanism to verify compliance, including the establishment of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy, has been established by the Treaty. Its office will be in South Africa.The Treaty affirms the right of each party to decide for itself whether to allow visits by foreign ships and aircraft to its ports and airfields, explicitly upholds the freedom of navigation on the high seas and does not affect rights to passage through territorial waters guaranteed by international law.

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