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“Nuclear weapons are incompatible with the values upheld by our respective faith traditions—the right of people to live in security and dignity; the commands of conscience and justice; the duty to protect the vulnerable and to exercise the stewardship that will safeguard the planet for future generations . . .”
So reads a statement calling on faith groups to speak out against nuclear weapons that was presented on May 1 at the UN Headquarters in New York as part of the official Civil Society Presentation at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.
SGI, together with other faith-based organizations, contributed to drafting the statement titled “Faith Communities Concerned about the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons.”
This initiative builds on joint statements by faith groups issued in April and December 2014 at conferences held in Washington DC and Vienna respectively that highlighted the devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.
The statement so far has been endorsed by individuals from over 60 different religious groups and by prominent peace activists. SGI Director of Peace Affairs Hirotsugu Terasaki, Jonathan Frerichs, program executive for peace building and disarmament for the World Council of Churches (WCC) and Dr. Emily Welty, vice-moderator of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, presented the statement to Ambassador Taous Feroukhi, president of the NPT Review Conference on the morning of April 30. Ambassador Feroukhi said, “It helps strengthen the NPT and solidarity of humanity for the shared goal of a world free from nuclear weapons.”
related article Toward a World Free from Misery by Olivier Urbain, director, Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research Olivier Urbain, director of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, describes the founding ideals of the institute and how these are being built upon. Mr. Terasaki commented: “It is a great pleasure to be able to issue an interfaith statement as a joint initiative by individuals from a wide range of faith groups on the occasion of the NPT Review Conference. We will continue to work to strengthen solidarity and unity among people of goodwill and faith regarding this issue in order to amplify voices from civil society and enable them to be heard.”
“In this statement, people of different faiths remind the governments gathered at the United Nations that nuclear weapons violate the deepest values of humanity,” said Dr. Welty, who read out the statement at the NPT Review Conference on May 1.
The statement powerfully denounces the need for nuclear weapons in today’s world and criticizes the vast amounts of resources diverted from investment in genuine human security.
Signatories pledge, as people of faith, to communicate within their respective faith communities the inhumane and immoral nature of nuclear weapons and the unacceptable risks they pose, and to call for the early commencement of negotiations by governments on a new legal instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.
To find out how to endorse the statement or view the latest list of endorsers, please go to http://www.peoplesdecade.org/.
[Adapted from reports from the SGI Office of Public Information (SGI-OPI); photo courtesy of SGI-OPI]
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