Vatican calls for wider definition of weapons of mass destruction

The Vatican has called on the international community to expand the definition of a ‘weapon of mass destruction’ to include “devastatingly powerful conventional weapons used to perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

“Conventional weapons are becoming less and less ‘conventional’ as technological advances elevate their power to destroy to the level of weapons of mass destruction,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.

The Vatican diplomat was speaking on Tuesday during a Security Council Open Debate on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

“For this reason, the Holy See recommends that discussions on weapons of mass destruction go beyond the traditional categories of nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological weapons to include devastatingly powerful conventional weapons,” he continued.

“Military forces, rebels, terrorists and extremist groups use with greater frequency ever more powerful conventional weapons, showing scant regard for civilian immunity, discrimination, or proportionality,” Archbishop Auza said.

“The tens of millions of refugees and displaced persons send an important message to this Chamber today,” – the Archbishop said – “We must flee or die as our cities and communities are entirely devastated, not by nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, but by powerful conventional weapons.”


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