Faith communities issue interfaith statement calling for urgent action toward nuclear abolition at NPT PrepCom in Geneva

GENEVA – On April 25, diverse faith-based organizations and individuals committed to a nuclear-weapon-free world presented a joint statement at the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The statement was read by Hayley Ramsay-Jones of SGI on behalf of the group Faith Communities Concerned about Nuclear Weapons during the session of statements from non-governmental organizations.

The statement is endorsed by 20 groups and individuals of Christian, Quaker, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist affiliations. It urges all States parties to the NPT to engage in constructive dialogue toward fulfilling their obligations and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament and the shared goal of a world free from nuclear weapons.

The statement reads: “As people of faith, we advocate for the right of all people to live in security and dignity; we seek to heed the commands of conscience and the call to justice... We can never accept a conception of security that privileges the concerns of any state or nation over the good of the human and planetary whole. The horrific destructiveness of nuclear weapons makes their abolition the only path to authentic human security... We strongly urge all States to sign and ratify the TPNW (Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons).”

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

This is the ninth statement of its kind since 2014. The group issued previous interfaith statements on the occasion of international conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons from 2014 to 2016. Statements were also issued in 2017 during the NPT PrepCom in Vienna in May and on the Adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in New York in July.

Pax Christi’s International Representative Jonathan Frerichs commented, “We now have the opportunity to help bring the TPNW into force. Each signature and each ratification of the treaty deepens the stigma and the illegitimacy surrounding nuclear weapons.”

SGI Executive Director for Peace and Global Issues Kazuo Ishiwatari added, “The role of faith communities is to offer people opportunities to reflect on their values and ways of thinking. Citizens need to be willing to make decisions to ensure that their national security does not rely on nuclear weapons.”

SGI also submitted its own official statement to the conference.

As this PrepCom is the first venue for debate and deliberation with the participation of non-nuclear-weapon, nuclear-weapon and nuclear-dependent states since the adoption of the TPNW last July, SGI urges the States parties to engage in constructive dialogue and produce concrete results in line with the NPT’s ultimate goal of a world free from nuclear weapons, and to continue to heed the voices of civil society, especially the world’s hibakusha.

Kazuo Ishiwatari presented the SGI statement to Ambassador Adam Bugajski of Poland, Chair of the second session of the Preparatory Committee, on April 25. Ambassador Bugajski expressed his appreciation for the efforts made by civil society.

The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association links over 12 million practitioners around the world. It has been engaged in efforts to promote the abolition of nuclear weapons for sixty years.