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The necessity of human solidarity must not be trumped by the divisiveness of nuclear weapons. This was part of the historic message expressing the ideas of His Holiness Pope Francis shared at the recent conference in Vienna on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. The World Evangelical Alliance, representing over 600,000,000 Christians, is similarly calling for moral sanity. Other religious voices are beginning to voice their support for the new humanitarian movement to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Parliamentarians across the world over are similarly speaking out.
But when the debates take place at the security policy level in Washington, Moscow, Paris, Bejing, London, Tel Aviv, Pyongyang, Islamabad, and New Delhi (as well as Brussels and the capitals of other states under the nuclear deterrence umbrella) the voices of militarism prevail again and again. The political pressure from the public, the reasonable arguments of the diplomats, and clearly established legal duties have been insufficient to overcome the demands made by military and security planners to continue to rely on nuclear weapons as a core instrument in the pursuit of security. Some argue that the risks of using nuclear weapons as a threat are unacceptably high, though nuclear proponents insist that these risks are manageable. It is evident that this latter, erroneous argument continues to prevail.
We do not believe that this dangerous and flawed approach to security can overcome the awakened conscience of humanity. That is why the moral compass toward nuclear disarmament is so important.
The Vienna conference was an important contribution to these efforts, and we join the leaders of our program, the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND), who sent a letter of congratulations to the Austrian government for their outstanding work organizing and hosting the conference.
At the Vienna conference, we helped convene a session on the moral challenge of nuclear weapons. It was exceptionally well received and we are pleased to share that we will continue advancing this route to stir public opinion and stronger political commitments. At that conference, the Holy See’s Statement, “Nuclear Disarmament: A Time for Abolition,” expressed the strong position of Pope Francis and articulated principles around which progress must be achieved. It exemplifies the moral compass needed to steer ships of state through the turbulent, dangerous waters of a multipolar, unstable world. Toward this end, we are again gathering on April 9, 2015, at the United Nations in New York City. The event, titled “Nuclear Weapons and the Moral Compass” is co-hosted by the Holy See and will take place between 3-5 PM. You are invited to attend.
This short report shares some of the efforts we are making at several levels of society, all with the purpose of learning and practicing “Living Peace.” This phrase is the instructive framework of the Nobel Peace Laureates and we commend your attention to their statement.
It is our sincere hope that this report of what a relatively modest non-governmental organization can do with passion, sincerity, and commitment will inspire you to actively engage in building an edifice of sustainable peace. Senator Douglas Roche has analogized our work to those who put bricks in the beautiful cathedrals of Europe, many of whom knew they would not live to see the building in its complete form. In that spirit, please join us in laying the next brick.
Very truly yours,