Faith organizations urge nations to support a ban
October 18, 2016
Faith-based organizations have united behind the call to begin negotiations in 2017 on a nuclear-weapon-ban treaty. Representatives of various religions presented an appeal on 18 October to Algerian ambassador Sabri Boukadoum, who is chairing the disarmament discussions currently under way at the United Nations, and Kim Won-soo, the top UN disarmament official.
“We reiterate our common position that nuclear weapons are incompatible with the values upheld by our respective faith traditions,” they said. These include “the right of people to live in security and dignity, the commands of conscience and justice, the duty to protect the vulnerable and to exercise the stewardship that will safeguard the planet for current and future generations”.
Among the endorsers of the appeal were representatives of several of ICAN’s partner organizations, including Soka Gakkai International, the World Council of Churches, Pax Christi International, PAX and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
They urged all nations to “heed the voices of the world’s hibakusha” – that is, atomic bomb survivors – and vote “yes” to the draft UN resolution to convene a conference next year to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.
“There is no countervailing imperative – whether of national security, stability in international power relations, or the difficulty of overcoming political inertia – that justifies their continued existence, much less their use. Their catastrophic humanitarian consequences demand that nuclear weapons never be used again, under any circumstances,” they said.
“The overwhelming indiscriminate and inhumane destructive capacity of these weapons is more than enough justification for their immediate prohibition. And, in times of conflict and escalating tensions like the present – with nuclear weapons being brandished again – it is even more critical to denuclearize both international crises and international conflict resolution.
“There now exists an historic opportunity to make substantive progress and for this General Assembly to fulfill its mandate as a truly global institution representing all states and fully engaging civil society. It should seize this opportunity to vote in support of the resolution setting up negotiations as an effective measure to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.”