#BeHuman Peace Declaration at Vatican Fraternity Meeting calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons


The Peace Declaration of the second World Meeting on Human Fraternity, presented to Pope Francis on May 10th and entitled “We reject war: Let diplomacy prevail over arms. We want Peace!“ includes clear calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

On 10-11 May 2024, The Vatican’s Fratelli Tutti Foundation brought notable figures and engaged citizens from around the world together in Rome to seek alternatives to war and poverty, inspired by the principle of fraternity. ICAN attended the two day meeting to bring attention to the risks posed by nuclear weapons and the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) as a pathway for their total elimination.

In a statement to the  Nobel Laureates Roundtable on 9 May, ICAN’s Executive Director Melissa Parke stressed: “it has never been more urgent or important for the international community to take action to eliminate nuclear weapons - the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is the only treaty to acknowledge and address the existing humanitarian and environmental consequences of nuclear weapons, as well as providing a pathway to their verifiable elimination [...] humanity is at a key decision point- whether to go down the path of increased confrontation, militarisation and proliferation, or to engage in dialogue, diplomacy and disarmament.”  

The final Peace Declaration included unequivocal language on nuclear weapons: 

“ [...] Peace is eliminating nuclear weapons. Never again Hiroshima and Nagasaki! [...] Weapons of war, especially nuclear ones, do not keep us safe; they threaten all life on Earth.

The statement also focused on presenting a positive vision of peace: “If human beings created such weapons of mass destruction, they are even more capable of creating good, nurturing life, protecting children, creating a non-violent future where violence is not the answer to conflicts.”

Such explicit calls are not new for the Vatican, or Pope Francis as both have advocated for an end of nuclear weapons through the TPNW over the years. The Vatican historically supported the negotiation of a treaty comprehensively banning nuclear weapons, and has been a state party to the treaty since it opened for signature in September 2017.  


Pope Francis has also been a vocal supporter of the treaty, urging states to support the TPNW during his 2019 visits to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and stating that “we will be judged” on our efforts to end nuclear weapons, among others.  In his message to the first Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW, Pope Francis stated “the use of nuclear weapons, as well as their mere possession, is immoral.”

The Vatican has also included the immorality of nuclear weapons, and investment in the companies building them, in its first-ever guidelines on faith-consistent investing: “Mensuram Bonam - Faith-Based Measures for Catholic Investors: A Starting Point and Call to Action”, which references Pope Francis’ statements noting the premise of nuclear weapons as deterrence is flawed, as it “inevitably ends up poisoning relationships between peoples and obstructing any possible form of real dialogue”. 

This year’s Peace Declaration continues to build on that strong historic support for the end of nuclear weapons.