Faith Communities Welcome UN Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda
On May 24, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced his new disarmament agenda titled, “Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament” in Geneva.
Considering the current dangerous reality surrounding us, Mr. Guterres pointed out that cold war tensions had returned to a world that is now much more complex and where armed conflicts have become more devastating for civilians, and demands therefore that disarmament and nonproliferation are put at the center of the work of the United Nations.
Focusing on three priority points: weapons of mass destruction, conventional weapons, and new battlefield technologies, the agenda discusses the disarmament issues comprehensively, including the need for the disarmament of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, the need for the disarmament of conventional weapons, and how the security of future generations is being endangered by emerging new weapon technologies, and the importance therefore of strengthening partnerships for disarmament between governments, the expert community and civil society. In conclusion, Mr. Guterres urged all “to use every opportunity to carry forward momentum for disarmament where it exists, and to generate new impetus where it is needed, in order to achieve a safer and more secure world for all.”
In response to the secretary-general’s agenda, an interfaith statement was issued on behalf of a wide variety of religious organizations to support the appeal by the secretary-general. The statement, which the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security in New York played a central role in issuing, is endorsed by groups of Christian, Quaker, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist traditions, including Soka Gakkai International (SGI).
The statement affirms the view, previously expressed by many religious authorities, that nuclear weapons are inherently immoral because of their horrific and indiscriminate effects on both civilians and the environment. The statement also expresses support for the United Nations in urging the nuclear-weapon states to resume arms-control negotiations without further delay.
The secretary-general’s agenda can be read here.
The interfaith statement can be read here.