Columbans sign Faith Communities’ call to end Nuclear Weapons

The tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is currently taking place in New York. On 5th August the Faith Communities Concerned about Nuclear Weapons, a group of faith-based organisations and individuals committed to a nuclear-weapon-free world, issued a joint interfaith statement to the conference. Amongst 104 signatories were the Missionary Society of St. Columban (International).

As people of faith committed to building a peaceful and just world, we come together to unite

our voices on this occasion of the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which coincides with the solemn anniversaries of the days atomic bombs were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. We are honoured that survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki continue to guide our activism. Today, as we find ourselves faced with deep concerns about a potential escalation of nuclear war, we renew our determination to carry on their legacy and do our part as faith communities to keep working toward a future without nuclear weapons.

The NPT is a landmark international treaty on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, and its wide adherence is a testament to the Treaty’s significance. We believe the NPT’s objectives are more relevant in today’s security environment than ever.

However, as the 2020 joint civil society statement to the States Parties of the NPT indicates, the Treaty is only as strong as its implementation. The escalating tensions and uncertain global security environment are the very reasons we need decisive and timely action for nuclear disarmament, not increased investment in and modernisation of such catastrophic weapons. It is urgent that we take such concrete action toward full implementation now because our survival depends on it.

As people of faith, we are here to remind you, delegates of the NPT Review Conference, of our shared humanity. Despite national interests and objectives that seemingly contradict each other at times, we share the fundamental goal of preserving our planet, our countries, communities and families, without which we cannot pursue our prosperity, well-being or happiness. We know that nuclear weapons, whether used by design or accident, will destroy the world as we know it and cause tremendous suffering of many people, as testified by the hibakusha and those from affected communities. Nuclear weapons are incompatible with our fundamental values of respect for human dignity; their continued role in so-called national security should not be tolerated.

All of us, as leaders, delegates, civil society, and faith communities, share the moral and ethical responsibility of realising a world without nuclear weapons, knowing that the possibility lies in our hands. It is up to each of us to enact this mission, and history will surely show that we took the right course. We say this, as we are encouraged by the commitment and leadership demonstrated by the States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), as seen in their bold commitments produced at the first Meeting of States Parties.

As we embark on the negotiations at the Review Conference, based on the shared recognition that the horrors of nuclear weapons must never be visited upon any country, or any persons, we urge each delegation to the NPT to consider the following:

  1. Heed the voices of hibakusha and those of affected communities, and recognise nuclear weapons for what they are – weapons of mass destruction capable of killing millions of people with long-lasting, devastating humanitarian consequences;
  2. Affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, and commit to concrete actions to prevent any possibility of escalation toward a nuclear war;
  3. Fulfill commitments and obligations for nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the NPT, and also support other international instruments that complement such obligations, including the TPNW and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Our diverse faith traditions remind us that we are not prisoners of our current reality. Each of us are creative, resilient, and capable of creating a world we desire. We trust that you will act in accordance with your moral conscience, and we pray for a fruitful Review Conference, one which future generations will take inspiration from.

Let us pray

Together let's pray for peace throughout the world and an end to the use of nuclear weapons.

A prayer for peace