As RfPUK have been committed to total multilateral nuclear disarmament, we would like to publicise our thoughts and views on this subject utilising various forms of media. Some newspapers have been known to be very supportive of this cause so we are starting with an open letter to the Observer:
Nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not yet explicitly prohibited under international law. The recent Humanitarian Pledge endorsed by 117 nations so far is a commitment to fill this unacceptable “legal gap”. It offers a platform from which they can – and must – launch negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons. This important document provides governments with the opportunity to move beyond fact-based discussions on the effects of nuclear weapons to the start of treaty negotiations.
Religions for Peace UK calls on the UK Government to show it is serious about working towards further international disarmament and establish a “glide-path down towards disarmament”.
We agree with the Trident Commission established by the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) that the UK should be moving more comprehensively down the nuclear ladder to give greater confidence to the international community that we are considering such steps seriously in preparation for multilateral disarmament negotiations.
The abolition of nuclear weapons is an urgent humanitarian necessity. Any use of nuclear weapons would have catastrophic consequences. No effective humanitarian response would be possible, and the effects of radiation on human beings would cause suffering and death many years after the initial explosion. Eliminating nuclear weapons – via a comprehensive treaty – is the only guarantee against their use.
Religions for Peace UK believes that upgrading Britain’s nuclear programme at this point, when there is the possibility that these weapons could become illegal would only serve to undermine efforts to advance the cause of global nuclear disarmament.
Jehangir Sarosh OBE
CEO Religions for Peace UK and General Secretary European Council of Religious Leaders