With Honduras becoming the 50th nation to ratify the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, this means that on the 22nd January 2021 Nuclear Weapons will become illegal under international law!
The U.N. Treaty on the Prohibitions of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will fully bind all the states that join it in comprehensive prohibitions and positive obligations for nuclear disarmament. The British government currently refuses to sign, but as soon as the treaty becomes international law it will find itself under greatly increased pressure to do so. Just last month the US was attempting to intimidate signatories into pulling out of the treaty a clear sign that this represents a genuine threat to the nuclear status quo.
Communities of faith played a vital role during the negotiations for the UN Ban Treaty. Local Faith Leaders continue to provide a moral voice on the threat of using Weapons of Mass Destruction on civilian populations. On 15th November, 29 Church of England Bishops signed as open letter calling on the UK Government to sign the treaty.
Our members are building support for the Treaty across Yorkshire, lobbying Faith Leaders to sign the ICAN faith leaders pledge. So far, eight faith leaders have signed the pledge:
- Venerable Malcolm Chamberlain (CoE, Archdeacon of Sheffield and Rotherham)
- Very Rev Simon Cowling (CoE, Dean of Wakefield)
- Rev John Davies (Minister, CoE, Parish of Clapham with Keasden and Austwick, Yorkshire)
- Rev Jo James (Minister, Mill Hill Unitarian Chapel, Leeds)
- Rt Rev Marcus Stock (RC Bishop of Leeds)
- Right Rev Tony Robinson (Area Bishop of Wakefield)
- Right Rev Terence Patrick Drainey (Bishop of Middlesbrough)
- Rev Heston Groenewald (All Hallows Church, Leeds)
- John Bouttell, Area leader, SGI-UK (Todmorden)
- Father Peter Kravos, St. Josephs RC Church (Pudsey)
Getting the Treaty ratified is a huge credit to all those who’ve lobbied and campaigned for this over the years, but we can’t afford to rest on our laurels, the real campaigning starts now. We created our ‘Faith Leaders Pledge’ to allow representatives of any faith to pledge their support for nuclear disarmament. Here are some tips:
Step one: Ask your Faith Leader to sign the Faith Leaders Pledge – you can use the template email below.
Step two: If you’re a member of (or have contacts with) a faith community, please do begin a conversation around the morality of threatening others with annihilation.
Step three: While high profile supporters are fantastic, we’d also love to see the issue discussed in local mosques, synagogues, churches and meetings all across the region. Yorkshire CND are happy to offer speakers or discussants as requested.
Step four: Report back on their responses
Dear [insert name],
I’m writing to ask you to express support for the UN’s Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This treaty prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. With the 50 nations required to ratify this treaty, it will now enter into international law on the 22nd January 2021, thus making nuclear weapons illegal. In this spirit, we are calling upon Faith Leader from all of Yorkshire’s great faith communities to sign the Pledge as a demonstration that in this country our Faith Leaders seek peace.
Our world stands at a crossroads. Faced with the ravages of a coronavirus pandemic and the twin existential threats posed to our planet and all sentient beings by climate change and nuclear weapons, it would be easy for any human being to despair, but there is also hope. For these crises have galvanised those who are best amongst us to renew our efforts to work for something better – a new world based on peaceful co-existence, social justice, and sustainability.
I’m sure you agree that nuclear weapons have no place in our world, and that any use of nuclear weapons would cause widespread death and destruction – the International Committee of the Red Cross have said it would be impossible to respond to the use of nuclear weapons. Despite this, many countries (including the UK) are currently upgrading their nuclear weapons. This makes the world less secure.
We are asking Yorkshire’s Faith Leaders to become our allies in the good fight by signing this Pledge calling on the British Government to be the first nuclear weapon state to sign and ratify the treaty.
If you would like to support this initiative, we would be most grateful if you could email to us an electronic copy of the signed pledge with photographs of you signing the pledge and you holding the signed pledge in front of you so that we might feature these as part of our regional campaign. The email to send these photos is firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing from you regarding this matter.
Yours In Peace,