By Caroline Mwanga
NEW YORK (IDN) – Rejecting the existential threat to humanity that nuclear weapons pose, a wide coalition of faith-based communities from around the world has hailed the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the first international treaty to comprehensively ban nuclear weapons. Over 160 organizations endorsed a joint interfaith statement coordinated by the Faith Communities Concerned About Nuclear Weapons, which include Soka Gakkai International (SGI). [2021-01-23]
The statement accentuates that the Treaty, which entered into force on January 22, addresses "the disproportionate impact of nuclear weapons on women and indigenous peoples and the importance of victim assistance and healing environmental harms in a ground-breaking way". The endorsees congratulate, celebrate and appreciate the countries that have ratified and signed this important Treaty, as well as all who have worked for nuclear disarmament and abolition for many decades.
The statement emphasizes that the possession, development and threat to use nuclear weapons is immoral and that there are no safe hands for these weapons. Because the accidental or deliberate detonation of a nuclear weapon would cause severe, long-lasting and far-reaching harm on all aspects of our lives and our environment throughout the world.
Further, these technologies are part of structures and systems that bring about great suffering and destruction. The endorsers of the statement therefore "commit to the ethical and strategic necessity of working together for economic and social justice, right relationship with the Earth, and accountability and restoration where there is violence and harm".
(The list of endorsers, being updated regularly, is available here)
They add: "We rejoice at the possibilities of a new world that this Treaty ushers in. At a time when the world desperately needs fresh hope, the TPNW inspires us to continue to work to fully eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons, and to create conditions for peace, justice, and well-being."
The faith communities recognize the legacy of the global hibakusha, survivors whose courage and perseverance serve as inspiration, guidance, and moral foundation in the quest for a world free from nuclear weapons. "This quest will continue until all nuclear weapons are eliminated from our planet."
They also urge all States to join the growing community of States which have rejected nuclear weapons and to sign and ratify the TPNW, or work toward that end by joining the First Meeting of the States Parties planned to take place this year.
In conclusion, the statement looks ahead to the work that must continue: “At this historic moment, we must act decisively to strengthen the power of the TPNW upon its entry into force, and to work for peace, cooperation, and common security.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 23 January 2021]
Photo: The Sun is Laughing by five-year-old Konstantin G., Russia| UNODA Art for Peace 2012 contest.
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