Austria and Palau have become the latest states to ratify the Nuclear Ban Treaty at the United Nations in New York, taking the number of states having completed the ratification process to nine.
The two states are significant signatories to the Treaty. Palau is the first Pacific nation to sign the Treaty whilst Austria is the first EU Member State to take the step.
Palau has the world’s only nuclear-free constitution which was adopted in 1980 and has a long tradition of opposing nuclear weapons. This was recognised when the state was invited to be one of the first to sign the Treaty in September 2017.
Austria has played a key role in the development of the Ban Treaty. It hosted the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, resulting in the Humanitarian Pledge, signed by 127 states to date.
Christian CND visited the Austrian Embassy in London as part of our annual Embassies Walk in March.
The Treaty will come into force once 50 states have completed the ratification process. Christian CND continues to pray that more states will complete the process quickly, and that others will come forward to sign in the meantime.
As President Donald Trump prepares to announce his decision on the Iran Nuclear Deal on Tuesday evening, Christian CND has issued the following statement.
As Christians we are called to be peacemakers. Despite its imperfections the Iran Nuclear Deal has helped maintain some stability in the Middle East and to start to rebuild some trust between nations. It has given hope to many that we are not inevitably set on a path towards increasing tensions, nuclear proliferation and potential destruction. It sets an example of peace-building which could be further built upon, and replicated elsewhere. It is one part of an answer to many of our prayers. For the United States to pull out of this arrangement now would be an act of recklessness and cynicism. We are praying for those involved in this decision and urge Christian CND supporters to do the same.
Please join us in praying ahead of the announcement at 7pm this evening.
Christian CND has warmly welcomed the news that the leaders of North and South Korea have agreed to work towards denuclearisation and for a “lasting peace”.
The meeting between the two leaders took place in the border town of Panmunjom and represents a step forward towards a final peace treaty for the Korean War, which ended with an armistice in 1953. There are also promising signs on North Korea’s nuclear weapons as both leaders agreed that the Korean Peninsula should be denuclearised.
Christian CND members and supporters have been praying for peace in the region for many years. We recognise the progress that has been made in recent months and congratulate all sides on the outcome of the talks today.
We continue to pray for all politicians and officials involved in the talks. That they would have patience, love and grace towards their counterparts. We pray that the people of the region will be strengthened by this news.
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.
One of the other diplomats our delegation was able to meet with was representing the Holy See, also known as the Vatican. During that meeting we were able to thank the Holy See for the leadership the Pope has displayed on this issue, including many positive statements during the negotiation of the Ban Treaty and the conference which the Vatican hosted in November 2017.
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.
One of our last meetings included a testimony from a Hibakusha, a survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The speaker was only 7 at the time of the bombing, and poignantly reminded the young audience that they will be the last generation to be able to hear first-hand from nuclear bomb survivors.
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.