Faith groups welcome adoption of Nuclear Ban Treaty

NEW YORK — On July 7, the group Faith Communities Concerned about Nuclear Weapons issued a joint statement in support of the historic adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at UN Headquarters on the same day.

The treaty, a long-awaited step on the road to a world free from nuclear weapons, lays out detailed provisions calling for a comprehensive ban on the development, production, possession, stockpiling, testing, use or threat of use of nuclear arms.

Supported so far by more than 40 groups and individuals of Christian, Quaker, Buddhist, Muslim and Jewish affiliation, the statement reads, “As people of faith we accept as our special responsibility the work of raising awareness of the risks and consequences of nuclear weapons for current and future generations, awakening public conscience to build a global popular constituency in support of the Treaty in order to achieve and sustain a world free from nuclear weapons.”

The full text of the statement and list of endorsers can be found here.

Kimiaki Kawai, SGI Director of Peace and Human Rights, comments, “Like-minded groups and individuals of many faiths have come together to condemn nuclear weapons as incompatible with our shared human values. The continued existence of nuclear weapons hampers people’s ability to envisage a hopeful future and thus threatens human dignity.”

This interfaith statement builds on previous statements issued by the same group during initial negotiations related to the ban treaty and efforts ongoing since 2014 to highlight the catastrophic humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.

Another statement has been put out by the SGI in the name of Hirotsugu Terasaki, Director General of Peace and Global Issues. It states, “The existence of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat to the right to life of both the individual and humankind as a whole. For this reason, their total elimination is a desire shared by all people.” See:

During the recent negotiations on the text of the treaty, SGI representatives put forward proposals for including reference to international human rights law, in particular, the right to life, strengthening the reference to disarmament education and highlighting the role of women in promoting peace and security.

The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is a community-based Buddhist association with 12 million members promoting peace, culture and education around the world.

2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the Declaration Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons made by second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda on September 8, 1957, and the start of the organization’s efforts to raise awareness and call for a world free from nuclear weapons.


Photo caption: Interfaith vigil outside the UN in New York outside the ban treaty talks, July 5, 2017. Faith communities gathered every morning during the talks at 8:00 am at the Isaiah Wall, Ralph Bunch Park, First Avenue and 43rd Street. (Image by Clare Conboy for ICAN)