Vatican calls for progress towards nuclear disarmament

A representative of the Vatican has used a speech to the United Nations in New York to call for world leaders to work for a nuclear weapons-free world.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza called on nations to prevent a new nuclear arms race, saying that arms control treaties were being “abrogated and flouted”.

“Member states should spare no effort to reverse the current downward spiral of arms control and disarmament policies and dedicate themselves to elaborating new mechanisms of arms reduction leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons and general and complete disarmament”

Archbishop Bernardito Auza

The Vatican was one of the first states to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in September 2017 and Pope Francis has been one of the leading voices calling for action on disarmament. The Holy See has also ratified other arms control treaties including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which is yet to enter into force.

“The Holy See urges their detailed examination with the objective of establishing – by consensus to the greatest extent possible – actionable steps to reduce the prominence of nuclear weapons in global security through verifiable measures, toward the achievement of a nuclear weapon-free world”.

Archbishop Auza also called for the arms trade to be tackled, which he said brought about insecurity for people around the world. He contrasted the potential for genuine security, saying that for people around the world security is “essential for development and for the fight against extreme poverty,”. The importance of educating people of all ages was also raised “to dissuade them from making an unjust use of weapons” and help overcome the culture of violence that has risen in many societies.

The Pope is due to visit Japan later this year, where he will take part in events in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the cites of the only uses of nuclear weapons in conflict to date. It is thought he will use the visit to further calls for action towards nuclear disarmament.