In July, the United Nations banned nuclear weapons. The campaign to abolish nuclear weapons has been one of the longest goals of the United Nations, and on July 7, 2017, the world came one step closer to realizing a world free of nuclear weapons when 122 nations voted to approve the draft treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.
Some opponents are saying that this treaty will not be able to create change or eliminate nuclear weapons, and the nuclear weapon countries (Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States) boycotted the negotiations along with most members of NATO citing security concerns
Yet while there is still work to be done, Ray Acheson from Reaching Critical Will explained that this treaty “provides a solid foundation to change policies and practices, as well as to shift the thinking and discourse on nuclear weapons even further than the process to ban them already has.” This treaty shows the global community that a world free of nuclear weapons is possible, is desired, and is within reach. This treaty helps us to image a world free from nuclear weapons, a safer world, and a world that is one step closer to peace.
The next step will be the official signing of this treaty on September 20, 2017 in New York. After 50 countries have signed, the treaty will enter into legal force 90 days later.
In his message to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, Pope Francis explained that “Nuclear weapons are a global problem, affecting all nations, and impacting future generations and the planet that is our home.” He continues by saying, “The desire for peace, security and stability is one of the deepest longings of the human heart. It is rooted in the Creator who makes all people members of the one human family. This desire can never be satisfied by military means alone, much less the possession of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.”
Former Vice President Al Gore recently said on a conference call that “political will is a renewable resource” and we, as members of the faith community have the ability to work for that renewal. We know it is time to abolish all nuclear weapons. The United Nations took a large step toward peace with the signing of this treaty; may we continue our work toward peace through prayer and advocacy for a nuclear-free world.
For more information about the treaty, see these FAQs here from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.