Religious Communities Laud UN Treaty to End Nuclear Weapons
Religious groups were united in praise after the United Nations on Friday moved to pass the first-ever legally binding international treaty for a total ban on nuclear weapons. In a public statement, more than 40 faith groups, communities, and leaders of Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and and Quaker affiliation called for the the universal acceptance and implementation of the treaty, which lays out detailed provisions for a comprehensive ban on the development, production, possession, stockpiling, testing, and use or threat of nuclear weapons.
“Having repeatedly voiced our grave concerns about the humanitarian and environmental consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, we wholeheartedly welcome the adoption of this treaty as a vital step toward the goal of a world free from nuclear weapons,” the statement said. “Our respective faith traditions advocate for the right of people and all living things to live in security and dignity. We believe in the commands of conscience and justice; we seek to honor our duty to protect the vulnerable and to exercise the stewardship that will safeguard the planet for future generations. Nuclear weapons are entirely incompatible with these values and commitments, and manifest a total disregard for the principles of humanity.” (Soka Gakkai International)
Endorsers of the statement from Buddhist communities include Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi of Buddhist Global Relief, Gina Sharpe of the New York Insight Meditation Center, the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Dr. Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock Buddhist Center, Rev. Dr. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki of the Buddhist Council of New York, Kittisaro and Thanissara of Sacred Mountain Sangha – USA & Africa, Matt Regan of the International Buddhist Committee of Washington, DC, and Soka Gakkai International.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was endorsed by 122 countries on 7 July at the New York City headquarters of the United Nations following months of negotiations. All countries with nuclear arms—including China, France, India, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—and many others that either come under the protection of the world’s nuclear powers, or host weapons on their behalf, boycotted the negotiations. Only the Netherlands, which participated in the talks despite hosting US nuclear weapons on its territory, voted against the treaty. Singapore abstained.
Tokyo-based Nichiren Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai International (SGI) lauded the treaty as a historic step for mankind.“We have long worked toward the abolition of these most inhumane of weapons, and would like to express our deepest respect to all the hibakusha, governments, UN, and other international organizations and nongovernmental organizations around the world who have made dedicated efforts to realize this treaty,” said Hirotsugu Terasaki, director general of peace and global issues at SGI. (IDN-InDepthNews)
SGI’s director of peace and human rights, Kimiaki Kawai, who was in New York for the final session of negotiations, commented, “The adoption of this treaty feels like a momentous step forward. Even if the nuclear-weapon states and most nuclear-weapon-dependent states have not participated, the moral norm has been declared very clearly, with the united will of the world’s people behind it. Nuclear weapons in any hands are wrong.” (PR Newswire)
Soka Gakkai International, a Nichiren Buddhist organization founded in 1975, serves as the umbrella organization for Tokyo-based Soka Gakkai’s international presence. The group is involved in peace activism, education, and politics, and claims to have 12 million members in 192 countries and territories around the world. Founder Daisaku Ikeda, 89, is a Buddhist philosopher, educator, author, and anti-nuclear activist. He was the third president of the Soka Gakkai Buddhist movement, from 1960–79, and is the founding president of SGI.
Faith Communities Statement on Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty (Soka Gakkai International)
International Buddhist Group Welcomes Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty (PR Newswire)
Faith groups welcome adoption of Nuclear Ban Treaty (Religious News Service)
Faith Groups Urge Universal Adoption of UN Nuclear Ban Treaty (IDN-InDepthNews)
Civil Society Rejoices at the New UN Treaty Marking the Beginning of the End of Nuclear Age (IDN-InDepthNews)
Soka Gakkai International
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