Nuclear disarmament: religion is key say Nobel Prize alumni

There is a major role for faith-based groups to help create a nuclear weapon-free world, Nobel Prize winners said at a nuclear disarmament summit at the Vatican last week.

They suggested faith groups could use their ability to mobilise people and public opinion, and lay out the moral and spiritual case for disarmament.

The Nobel laureates joined with leading Vatican and secular diplomats who urged world leaders to freeze investment in nuclear arms production.

Instead, the money should be for peace and development initiatives.

“Every day we are bombarded with bad news about the atrocities … harming each other and nature, about the increasing drumbeat of a possible nuclear conflagration and the fact that humanity stands on the precipice of a nuclear holocaust,” keynote speaker Cardinal Peter Turkson said.

Turkson, the first prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, was one of many voices at the Vatican-organised meeting asking for peaceful ways to be found to resolve the world’s problems.

Entitled “Prospects for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament,” the summit drew a line-up of world leaders.

These included United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials, representatives from nuclear powers including Russia and the United States, as well as South Korea and Iran.

Turkston said fears of a potential global catastrophe are rising to a level not seen since the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In his view ongoing discussions about nuclear weapons are “critical”.

He said decisions made by global leaders about peace and war in the coming months and years “will have profound consequences for the very future of humanity and our planet.”

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