Welcoming landmark meeting on nuclear Treaty
June 29, 2022
The Uniting Church welcomes Australia’s attendance at the first meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) which took place in Vienna last week.
Australia is yet to sign onto the Treaty but attended the meeting as an observer with an official delegation led by Susan Templeman MP.
Doug Hewitt, Member of the Assembly’s Working for Justice Circle Panel and Coordinator of Christians for Peace Newcastle, said that Australia’s presence at the meeting was “good news” as many look for positive signs that Australia may soon become a signatory to the global agreement.
Ahead of winning the election, the Australian Labor Party made a pre-election pledge to sign on to and ratify the Treaty which currently has 86 signatories and has been ratified by 65 States Parties.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) distributed a Joint Interfaith Statement welcoming the meeting which has been endorsed by 144 organizations around the world.
The Statement was delivered in person to the meeting by Olivia Baro, a representative from the Pacific Conference of Churches. The Statement articulates the danger posed by nuclear weapons and the need to channel resources into ensuring our common security and flourishing.
“We are acutely aware of the threats facing humanity and our beloved planet,” reads the Statement. “Nuclear weapons represent a tangible manifestation of the worst of these threats with the risk they pose to human health and environmental stability.
“The resources currently spent on the development and maintenance of these weapons should be directed towards supporting the most vulnerable people and protecting the planet through investing in food, education, health care and climate justice.
“Our faith traditions call us to denounce this misuse of resources and to call for greater international cooperation to end nuclear weapons forever.”
The meeting of States Parties adopted a political declaration and an action plan to take the work of the treaty forward. Read them here thanks to ICAN.
The Uniting Church has called for Australia to sign on and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in its statement, Our Vision for a Just Australia, recognising the unique destructive power of nuclear weapons and the threat they post to the environment and to human survival.
The Uniting Church looks forward to working with Australian Government towards becoming a signatory to the Treaty.
Images: Olivia Baro from the Pacific Conference of Churches reads the Joint Interfaith Statement to the meeting (left and middle); the Joint Interfaith Statement is delivered to meeting Chair, Ambassador Alexander Kmentt (far right).