Dear friends,

PNND has been involved in some very successful recent initiatives involving religious leaders and parliamentarians.

These include events on Nuclear Weapons and the Moral Compass in Vienna and New York (watch the UNTV video recording of the NY event), a side-event during the 2015 NPT Review Conference on Cooperation between legislators and religious leaders, research and production assistance for the Nuclear Disarmament Resource Guide for Religious Leaders and Communities, and a Joint statement of PNND Japan and Japanese Religious Leaders honouring the 70th anniversary year of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Religious leaders and parliamentarians have differing roles and represent different constituencies. However, they share some of the same responsibilities to advance ethical principles, promote the common good, and protect society and the environment for current and future generations. There is thus room for cooperation and mutual support. In the arena of nuclear abolition, the political process will be dramatically empowered if there is morally inspired support.

The Moral Compass event held at the United Nations in New York was organised by the Global Security Institute (PNND’s parent body in the U.S.) and the Holy See. It generated a very influential article in Time Magazine (Pope Francis’ Latest Mission: Stopping Nuclear Weapons) highlighting the emerging leadership of Pope Francis on the issue of nuclear abolition.

This leadership is evidenced by Pope Francis’ strong message to the Vienna conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons on 7 Dec 2015, and the accompanying Holy See seminal paper of 8 Dec 2015 Nuclear Disarmament: A Time for Nuclear Abolition? that reinforces the moral imperative for nuclear abolition and demolishes the security arguments for nuclear weapons.

The argument that nuclear deterrence preserves the peace is specious. Prolongation of the current nuclear polyarchy has set the stage for wars and for ongoing tensions. It is an expensive system that can’t protect from prolonged low-level wars, inter-state wars or terrorist attacks. Accordingly, the misleading assumption that nuclear deterrence prevents war should no longer inspire reluctance to accepting international abolition of nuclear arsenals.
— The Holy See, Nuclear Disarmament: A Time for Nuclear Abolition?

Time Magazine reports that Pope Francis has considerable influence as a religious leader and ethical guide in the public realm, and as an effective mediator between governments. For example, the article attributes Pope Francis as playing an important role in the recent thawing of relations between US and Cuba. With Pope Francis planning to speak to the United Nations in September, there is speculation that he may use this common pulpit to further advance nuclear abolition.

Speakers for the joint event of PNND and Religions for Peace at the United Nations

PNND members interested in building cooperation with religious and faith-based communities could consider the following:

—    Prepare a joint statement on nuclear disarmament from parliamentarians and religious leaders in your country in time for the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6 and 9). Contact PNND for ideas and guidelines on such a statement;

—    Host a commemorative event for International Day for Peace (Sep 21) or the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (Sep 26) and invite religious leaders to the event, along with other civil society representatives; (PNND’s next update will outline plans for these days);

—    Table, in your parliament, the Message of Pope Francis to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons - along with an expression of hope that the Pope, the leader of your country and other world leaders will use the occasion of the opening session of the UN General Assembly in September to highlight the importance of nuclear disarmament.

Yours sincerely

Alyn Ware
Alyn Ware
PNND Global Coordinator
On behalf of the PNND Coordinating Team

Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) is a global network of legislators working on a range of initiatives to prevent nuclear proliferation and to achieve a nuclear weapons free world.   |   |

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