This week Christian CND delegates have been in Geneva for meetings on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Treaty has been the foundational international statute for many decades and contains provisions for nuclear-armed states to negotiate away their weapons as well as aiming to stop the spread of the weapons.
In recent years talks at these meetings have become deadlocked, with the nuclear -armed states unable to agree on a way forward. Moves towards nuclear disarmament have been given fresh impetus with the agreement of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons last July. Many of the states who spoke in Geneva hailed the new Treaty.
Christian CND attends these meetings to play our part in the civil society effort on the fringe of the meetings. As well as observing the main hall and the national speeches we met with diplomats to discuss international developments. Much of this work follows on from our Embassies Walk which took place in March.
On Tuesday morning Christian CND delegates joined others in gathering outside the venue to pray for the success of the talks. The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 2 to pray for “all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life”. It was our joy to able to do just that at such an important time.
The UK representative in Geneva said that it would remain a nuclear-armed state “for the foreseeable future”. Describing the UK as a “responsible nuclear weapons state” the spokesperson said the UK remained “determined to make progress” on negotiations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty towards disarmament, but said that actions from other states are undermining the chances. No talks have been held under the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty for many years.
Later in the week we were able to join others in meeting Matthew Rowlands, the UK Ambassador attending. We hope that we will be able to have further meetings with officials back in London.
At the CND fringe meeting Labour Shadow Minister Fabian Hamilton acknowledged that the majority of Labour members want the Ban Treaty to be a success and want the UK to sign. CND Chair Dave Webb spoke of the injustice in spending £205billion on a new generation of nuclear weapons while food bank usage has soared and people are waiting record times in hospitals.
Bolivia has become the latest state to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was agreed at the United Nations in July 2017. The Treaty was supported by 122 nations, with the UK and the other nuclear powers refusing to participate in the process.
President Evo Morales made Bolivia the 58th signatory to the Treaty, with seven of those states having already completed the ratification process. The Treaty will come into force once it has been ratified by 50 states.
Christian CND continues to call on the UK government, and all states possessing nuclear weapons, to join the international consensus against nuclear weapons. As part of our Embassies Walk in March we visit a number of diplomatic missions in London and spoke about the need to make swift progress on ratification. We are please to see progress continues to be made and thank God for it.
Christian CND has joined other civil society groups in writing to Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary ahead of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee in Geneva, calling for the government to use the meeting to move towards nuclear disarmament.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty has been a cornerstone of efforts for a nuclear weapons-free world for decade, but there has been little progress towards disarmament in recent years.
The letter also calls on the government to attend the UN High Level International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, taking place in New York in May.
In light of the ongoing crisis in Syria, Christian CND has issued the following statement:
Christian CND is deeply saddened by the situation in Syria and the apparent use of chemical weapons. Any murder is regrettable and we condemn all sides who have been responsible for civilian deaths including in Douma. The images of children suffering are incredibly sad and we believe they grieve the heart of God.
We understand that many Christians will feel a conflict between the Biblical calling to be peacemakers and to stand up for the weak. There can be no doubt that those innocent civilians who have lived through years of civil war need to be defended, but we doubt that the further bombing, by the UK, America, Russia or any other nation, will do anything to protect those most in need.
Christian CND appeals to all parties to engage in immediate dialogue with a view to both ending the killing and move beyond this brutal conflict.
We urge all believers across the world to join us in prayer over the next 48 hours, both for Syria, Syrians and for political leaders around the world.
Please join us in lifting up prayers this weekend and throughout the coming week.
On Easter Sunday Christian CND joined many others at Aldermaston, home of the factory manufacturing the UK’s nuclear weapons. The event was marking the 60th anniversary of the very first march from London to Aldermaston and is part of the celebrations of CND’s 60th birthday.
Easter is the perfect time to think of peace. Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection enabled us to have peace with God, which in turn motivates us to seek peace in the world.
As part of the day Christian CND members and supporters had filled in Peace Doves with messages of hope and peace. These were then tied to the fence surrounding the facility.
The event finished with a vigil during which candles were lit and prayers said both for those involved in the manufacturing of nuclear weapons at Aldermaston and for peace around the world.