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Faith communities call for the elimination of nuclear weapons at NPT PrepCom in New Yo …

Fifty-three groups and individuals of diverse faiths join forces in an eleventh joint statement

NEW YORK — A diverse group of faith-based organizations and individuals committed to a nuclear-weapon-free world presented a joint statement at the third 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 Emily Welty of World Council of Churches (WCC) on behalf of the group, “Faith Communities Concerned about Nuclear Weapons,” during the session for statements from civil society.

The statement has been endorsed by 53 groups and individuals of Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist affiliations. Recognizing that there are core prohibitions common to both the NPT and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), such as those against the transfer of nuclear weapons and against assisting other states in acquiring nuclear weapons, that can be supported regardless of a state’s position on the TPNW, it urges all States parties to the NPT to engage in constructive dialogue toward strengthening such prohibitions as a concrete and practical step in fulfilling the obligation of all States parties to the NPT to pursue nuclear disarmament.

The statement reads: “We share and value the basic human right to live in a world free from the fear of total destruction, in an environment free from contamination. The indiscriminate and destructive capacity of nuclear weapons makes them wholly incompatible with our faith traditions and requires our consistent advocacy for their total and complete elimination. We believe in the power of people of goodwill to work for a better world, to shape policy and institutions so that they foster the fullness of life and support human dignity. The growing support for the TPNW has given us great cause for joy and enhanced hope for humanity.”

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

This is the eleventh statement of its kind since April 2014. To date, the group has issued interfaith statements on the occasion of international conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, the NPT PrepCom, UN General Assembly and the UN conference that negotiated the TPNW.

Mary T. Yelenick, Pax Christi International NGO Representative to the UN, commented, “Our faith calls us, and empowers us, to refuse to be held hostage by forces of violence, destruction, and despair. While our various faith traditions may, in certain respects, differ, all recognize the essential interrelatedness of all people, and all of creation. Humankind, and the earth itself, are precious, fragile gifts that we must actively honor and protect. Nuclear weapons constitute an existential threat to our viability not only as a species, but as a planet. The looming threat of violent extinction of all that we know and love compels us, as people of faith, hand in hand, to speak out, and to act — forcefully and firmly — until the horrific threat posed by these monstrous weapons is no more.”

Kimiaki Kawai, SGI Director for Peace and Human Rights, added, “Individual efforts for dialogue can help counter the human tendency toward self-centeredness and willful blindness to interdependence, a tendency that is most destructively manifested in nuclear weapons. Anybody can play a role in eliminating nuclear weapons.”

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 over sixty years.

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