Christian CND was pleased to be able to join the Quakers, CND and others in sponsoring a meeting at Friends House in London on Thursday 4 January. The discussion on how to bring nuclear-armed states into the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty was the ideal way to start what is set to be a busy year of campaigning.
The meeting, chaired by Bruce Kent and well attended, heard first from CND General Secretary Kate Hudson. Kate spoke of the UK government’s previous statements on the Ban Treaty, including Michael Fallon saying that it would “never” sign. Kate said that while the government is opposed, many political parties are supportive including the Lib Dems, Greens and SNP. Kate finished by calling for a popular mobilisation in support of the Ban Treaty, similar to those seen throughout the decade of campaigning against Trident replacement.
The next speaker was friend of CCND Tim Wallis, who has recently relocated to the United States where he is campaigning on the Treaty. He said that while no politician has come out in support, or even congratulated ICAN on winning the Nobel Peace Prize, there are the beginnings of grass roots efforts to campaign, including consumer boycotts like the successful ones from the 1980s.
Janet Fenton spoke about the actions being taken in Scotland, where a majority of parliamentarians and the Scottish Government support the Treaty and highlighted an international rally taking place at Faslane in September this year, which will certainly be a date for our diaries.
The next speaker was Rebecca Johnson, who spoke of her pride at ICAN winning the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the entire anti-nuclear movement. Rebecca shared Kate’s disappointment with the government position but recalled that few people outside anti-nuclear campaigners ever thought a Treaty would be negotiated, and yet it was agreed by 122 UN member states. Rebecca reported that ICAN is campaigning to bring the Treaty into force within the next 1000 days.
The final speaker was CCND Development Manager Russell Whiting, who spoke about the urgency in engaging Christians in this campaign. Christians have been at the forefront of campaigning on social justice issues throughout history, and there is no bigger issue than weapons which threaten the existence of God’s creation. CCND has secured public statements from Christian leaders in support of the Ban Treaty and had worked with other faiths to promote the Nobel Peace Prize. Russell finished by saying the CCND would continue to work not only to envision Christians to take action but for churches to support the Treaty through mobilising grass roots support. He reminded the audience that Jesus calls us to be peacemakers, and the best way to prepare for peace is to get rid of nuclear weapons.
As Christmas approaches and attention turns to spending time with friends and loved ones, Christian CND is sending Christmas greetings to all those at the Faslane Peace Camp, protesting the nuclear weapons facility situated there.
Among those at the Cam are four protesters who were arrested during the DSEI Arms Fair in London. They have been supported by Christian CND Executive member Geraldine Ellis, among others, and are due back in London for a further court appearance in January.
Please keep Chloe, Gary, Ian and Matt in your prayers this Christmas time, and thank God for them and everyone else willing to play such an active part in the campaign against nuclear weapons.
On Sunday 10 December the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. Christian CND is a partner organisation of ICAN and has been working closely with the group on the Nuclear Ban Treaty.
Faith groups have been a key part in the success of civil society engaging in the process, and Christian CND is delighted that the following statement has been agreed by UK faith leaders.
We congratulate the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons on the award of the Nobel Peace Prize. As people of faith, we seek to build relationships founded on the basis of our common humanity, moral principles and international law. Our world must not remain divided into nations with nuclear weapons and those without. As we are seeing, the tension caused by this division can only increase with likely dreadful consequences for all.
There is a need for creative political leadership to ensure that any attempt to justify the threat of mass destruction in any circumstance is wholly rejected. A world free of nuclear weapons achieved by building on established international norms is a global public good of the highest order. No country or government must allow itself to be left behind. Therefore, we call on the UK government to add its support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Christian CND will continue to work within the various church denominations in the UK to advance the cause of nuclear disarmament.
As the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) prepares to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday, Christian CND has joined other groups in the UK in writing to the Defence Secretary calling on the UK Government to sign the Treaty.
The new Treaty was agreed by 122 states at the United Nations and followed months of negotiation. The UK, along with the other nuclear-armed states, declined to take part at any stage.
Campaigners handed the letter in at the Ministry of Defence following a ‘die-in’ to draw attention to the appalling consequences of nuclear weapons.