The Uniting Church in Australia is a member of ICAN- the International Campaign to ban nuclear weapons. ICAN, is a campaign coalition consisting of over 440 non-governmental organisations in over 98 countries. You can read Rev Gregor Henderson’s 2008 statement on the stance of the church regarding nuclear weapons here. As Church’s President he said:
“We must also commit to dealing with the greatest threat to peace – the continued existence of nuclear weapons in our world.
“Nuclear weapons are an obscenity and an expression of the brokenness in our world. They breed relationships of distrust, difference and fear.”
Recently (May 2016) ICAN addressed the UN’s Open Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament on the potential of a nuclear weapons ban treaty:
“A treaty banning nuclear weapons would have a normative impact. It will strengthen the global norm against the use and possession of nuclear weapons. It will clarify that, in the view of the international community, nuclear weapons are unacceptable.
“But it could also have some very concrete and practical implications. Many of such provisions of the treaty have been discussed here, such as stopping financing of nuclear weapons production and victim assistance.
“And any nuclear alliance states joining the treaty will have to cease to host nuclear weapons on their soil, the weapons would need to be dismantled or returned. They would need to stop participating in nuclear war planning, stop contributing to nuclear weapons modernization programmes and many other very concrete disarmament activities.” Read more
There are now 127 countries supporting the ban. Obviously the countries which now have nuclear weapons are opposed to the ban.
You can read the latest ICAN newsletter here
We will continue to pray for the end to nuclear weapons, and the strengthening of the work of peacemakers everywhere. ICAN summarises the talks this month like this:
“Despite the convincing presentations from experts on the huge risks inherent in the continued possession of nuclear weapons and the fallibility of “deterrence”, several states took the floor to defend the nuclear weapons as being integral for their security. These states were nevertheless unwilling to acknowledge the tension between this claim and their oft-repeated commitment to working towards world free from nuclear weapons.
Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of states at the OEWG were united around the proposal for a new legal instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons even without the participation of the nuclear weapon states. Given the strong support expressed in the OEWG over these past few weeks, it is clear that states are gearing up to start negotiations on such a treaty.
The OEWG will reconvene in August for a final session to negotiate a final report with recommendations for the United Nations General Assembly”.