Dear Esteemed Colleague,
You will find below the statement of the Religions for Peace Executive Committee on Nuclear Weapons.
Allow me to urge you to carefully ponder this statement, use it in efforts to educate others and disseminate it widely in your own circles.
During the long Cold War, the threat of nuclear war was widely recognized. In response, Religions for Peace worked to build a global multi-religious coalition that spanned the Cold War blocs to advance disarmament, sent delegations of senior religious leaders to meet with Heads of State on both sides of the Cold War and contributed positively to related work at United Nations Headquarters.
Today, the dangers of nuclear weapons are growing: new and more deadly weapons are being developed, new states are acquiring them and the likelihood of non-state actors—including groups committed to terrorism—gaining access to them grows.
Please join your Religions for Peace colleagues in working to advance nuclear disarmament.
Yours in partnership,
Dr. William F. Vendley
Statement on Nuclear Weapons
6 December 2008
Nuclear weapons are a grave threat to human life. In addition to their profound danger, they also pose an inherent moral contradiction. On the one hand, our religious traditions affirm the ultimate value of each human life and call us to respect all life, while on the other nuclear weapons threaten indiscriminate death to massive numbers of people and threaten the global ecosystem on which all life depends. This grave threat and fundamental moral challenge concerns us greatly.
We, the Executive Committee of Religions for Peace, urgently call upon all states to work in solidarity for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
The dangers of nuclear weapons are growing. New and more deadly nuclear weapons are being developed by some of the five states who first acquired them: the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France and China. At least three additional states are now thought to have acquired them: Israel, India and Pakistan. Other states may be taking steps to obtain them, and the likelihood of non-state actors—including groups committed to terrorism—gaining access to them grows.
At the same time, existing international treaties are being violated or weakened and have not been acceded to by all nuclear states. Furthermore, additional new international treaties are urgently needed if the human family is to stay the danger of nuclear weapons.
More specifically, we are alarmed at the erosion of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and urge the five first nuclear weapons states who are parties to the treaty to fulfill their obligations, including their responsibilities to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons and work toward their elimination. We also urge the non-NPT nuclear states, India, Israel and Pakistan, to accede to the NPT. Failure to do both of the above may add momentum for non-nuclear states to develop nuclear arsenals. We further urge the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to continue to cooperate with existing international mechanisms regarding their compliance with relevant treaties. We urge that all states seized by these matters should resolve them through negotiations, transparency and timely action.
We commend the existing legal instruments related to nuclear weapons, such as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and call for the addition of new needed instruments. Specifically, we applaud the work underway to create nuclear weapons free zones and a verifiable fissile materials cut-off treaty. We urge governments to ratify and further develop these and other urgently needed tools and to take sober steps toward the development of a universal nuclear weapons convention for all states. While we urge these steps, we acknowledge with appreciation the many states that have voluntarily rejected the path to nuclear armament.
As we urge all states to work for nuclear disarmament, we also note with concern the gross imbalance between massive global spending on the military and the relatively small amounts needed to address poverty. We call for a reduction of military budgets in all countries and a reallocation of the saved funds to advance environmentally sustainable development.
We are representatives of diverse religious traditions committed to working together on the basis of shared moral concerns. We share a common moral conviction: We must all work together to eliminate nuclear weapons, reduce overall defense spending and invest in the common good. We can and must work together to build peace.
From its founding in 1970, Religions for Peace, the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition has advanced nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. These commitments were reaffirmed in August 2006 at the Religions for Peace Eighth World Assembly in Kyoto, Japan, and again in July 2008 at the World Religious Leaders Summit for Peace on the occasion of the G8 Toyako Summit.
Religions for Peace is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition advancing common action for peace since 1970. Headquartered in New York and accredited to the United Nations, Religions for Peace works through affiliated inter-religious councils in 70 countries in six continents.
This message was sent from Dr. William F. Vendley to email@example.com. It was sent from: Religions For Peace, 777 United Nations Plaza 9th Floor, New York, NY 10017