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South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone (SPNFZ) Treaty
Treaty of Rarotonga

The South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone (SPNFZ) Treaty, known as the Treaty of Rarotonga, bans the manufacture, possession, stationing, and testing of any nuclear explosive device in Treaty territories for which the parties are internationally responsible; it also bans the dumping of radioactive waste at sea. Three Protocols extend the Treaty's provisions to states outside the zone: Protocol I requires states with territories in the region to apply the prohibitions on manufacture, stationing, and testing of nuclear explosive devices to their territories; Protocol II commits the five declared nuclear weapons states not to use or threaten to use any nuclear explosive device against Parties to the Treaty or Protocol Parties' territories within the zone; and Protocol III commits the five nuclear weapon states not to test any nuclear explosive device within the zone.

In August 1985, eight members of the South Pacific Forum signed the Treaty of Rarotonga. The Treaty is now in force for 12 of 15 Forum members: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Naurau, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Western Samoa. Tonga signed the Treaty on August 2, 1996, but has yet to ratify. The United States, along with the United Kingdom and France, signed all three Protocols on March 25, 1996, in a special ceremony in Suva, Fiji, the site of the depositary of the Treaty. Russia (with understandings) and China signed and ratified Protocols II and III; neither has zonal territories that would require adherence to Protocol I. France ratified the Protocols on September 20, 1996, and the United Kingdom ratified the Protocols on September 19, 1997.

Primary documents, including treaty text and other related material.

Protocols 1, 2, and 3 to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, transmitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification on May 2, 2011

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Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Originally created by John Pike