World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Resources / Documents / WCC Executive Committee / Geneva, February 2004 / Statement on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Statement on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

20 February 2004

Executive Committee meeting
17-20 February 2004

The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches, meeting in Geneva from 17-20 February, 2004,

Affirming yet again our belief that the only ultimate protection against nuclear weapons, is their total elimination;
Responding to the urgent public concern given to nuclear weapons and the risk of proliferation of these weapons;
Reaffirming the persistent witness of the churches, that nuclear weapons cannot bring security and that nuclear arsenals "deliver only insecurity and peril through their promise to annihilate life itself and to ravage the global ecosystem" through which God sustains all earthly life;
Recognizing the suffering of the many victims of nuclear testing, in particular in the Pacific and the former Soviet Union;
Recalling the "Statement on Nuclear Disarmament" of the WCC Central Committee (29 January - 6 February 2001) that the post-Cold War opportunity to make major advances toward the elimination of nuclear weapons is being lost due to the failure of states to honor their unambiguous obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the undertakings solemnly agreed to in the May 2000 NPT Review Conference; and
Noting that the forthcoming 2005 NPT Review Conference affords a new opportunity to reinvigorate nuclear disarmament commitments and efforts;

The Executive Committee;

Reiterates its grave and ongoing concern that certain policies and practices of nuclear weapon states undermine international progress toward nuclear disarmament, and draws attention to:

  • Continuing efforts by the United States to develop new generations of nuclear weapons;
  • The abrogation by the United States of the Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty, and US pursuit of strategic ballistic missile defence in spite of is destabilizing impact on the international strategic environment;
  • Assertion by the United States of nuclear use doctrines, including threats to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states party to the NPT, that undercut negative security assurances;
  • The failure of China, India, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea, and the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;
  • The revival of the uranium enrichment program of North Korea;
  • Russia's failure to undertake verifiable reductions of its non-strategic nuclear weapons;
  • The dangerous practice in Russia and the United States of maintaining strategic weapons on ongoing high alert status;
  • The failure of the Russia-US Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty to require the permanent dismantling of warheads removed from active deployment;
  • China's measures to expand and upgrade its strategic nuclear arsenal;
  • NATO's "nuclear sharing" policy which places nuclear weapons on the territories of non-nuclear states party to the NPT;
  • NATO's continuing assertion of that nuclear weapons are "essential" to its security, and its pledge to retain them for the foreseeable future; and
  • The continued retention of nuclear weapons by Israel, Pakistan and India and the failure of the international to seriously challenge these violations of the international norm against nuclear weapons acquisition;

Welcomes the ongoing struggle of many governments and civil society groups to advance nuclear disarmament and to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and draws attention to:

  • The decision of the Government of Libya to disavow the pursuit of nuclear weapons ands to open its nuclear facilities to international inspection;
  • The decision of the Government of Iran to accept the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) additional protocol and to open its facilities to more intensive inspections;
  • The continuing efforts, especially by China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States, to engage North Korea in pursuit of a full commitment to permanently forego the pursuit of nuclear weapons and to recommit to the NPT as a non-nuclear state party;
  • The 2002 G8 pledge of $20 billion in support of the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, with a priority focus on securing Russia's nuclear materials; and
  • The role of civil society organizations around the world in continuing to undertake research and public advocacy in support of the urgent objective of eliminating nuclear weapons;

Urges all States to make renewed and unprecedented efforts to ensure that the current NPT Review Process, leading to the 2005 NPT Review Conference, reinvigorates nuclear disarmament efforts, leads states to recommit to the principles and goals of the NPT, and sets the world on a path toward the final elimination of nuclear weapons through support for a series of bold measures, including

  • A halt to all nuclear weapons research and development;
  • The early approval and ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT);
  • Rejection of strategic Ballistic Missile Defence;
  • Pledges by all nuclear weapon states, in a series of interim measures, to: 
  • never be the first to use nuclear weapons,
  • fulfil their unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, to which all States Parties are committed under Article VI of the NPT,
  • never use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states party to the NPT;
  • permanently remove their nuclear weapons from high-alert status;
  • permanently remove all nuclear weapons from the territories of non-nuclear weapon states;
  • Steps by Russia and the United States to make all their nuclear disarmament agreements irreversible through requirements to permanently dismantle all weapons removed from active deployment;
  • Early commitment to the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty;
  • Efforts by Global Partnership states to accelerate implementation of Partnership objectives; and
  • A recommitment to preventing the horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons technology by:
  • providing the political and material support necessary to enable the IAEA to carry out its responsibilities,
  • continuing to press Iran and North Korea to abandon all uranium enrichment and plutonium extraction efforts toward a fully verifiable return to a status of non-nuclear states party to the NPT;
  • Providing for the return of international inspectors to Iraq to verify its full compliance with its obligation as a non-nuclear party to the NPT;
  • Commitment by all States to uphold and strengthen the multilateral framework for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation;

Encourages civil society organizations to:

  • Continue to monitor nuclear weapons issues and developments;
  • Continue to challenge states to redouble their nuclear disarmament efforts in accord with the requirement of the NPT and, especially, in accord with the requirements for human security;
  • Urge the states responsible for carrying out nuclear tests, that adequate compensation should be given to victims of these tests;

Calls on churches in the context of the Decade to Overcome Violence to renew their witness for peace and disarmament through education, public awareness building and advocacy to overcome the continuing threat of nuclear weapons; and

Asks the WCC to continue to:

  • Monitor nuclear disarmament efforts generally;
  • Encourage NATO governments to renounce their reliance on nuclear weapons; and
  • Explore ways of promoting attention to nuclear disarmament in Israel, Pakistan and India.

Executive Committee meeting
17-20 February 2004

The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches, meeting in Geneva from 17-20 February, 2004,

Affirming yet again our belief that the only ultimate protection against nuclear weapons, is their total elimination;
Responding to the urgent public concern given to nuclear weapons and the risk of proliferation of these weapons;
Reaffirming the persistent witness of the churches, that nuclear weapons cannot bring security and that nuclear arsenals "deliver only insecurity and peril through their promise to annihilate life itself and to ravage the global ecosystem" through which God sustains all earthly life;
Recognizing the suffering of the many victims of nuclear testing, in particular in the Pacific and the former Soviet Union;
Recalling the "Statement on Nuclear Disarmament" of the WCC Central Committee (29 January - 6 February 2001) that the post-Cold War opportunity to make major advances toward the elimination of nuclear weapons is being lost due to the failure of states to honor their unambiguous obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the undertakings solemnly agreed to in the May 2000 NPT Review Conference; and
Noting that the forthcoming 2005 NPT Review Conference affords a new opportunity to reinvigorate nuclear disarmament commitments and efforts;

The Executive Committee;

Reiterates its grave and ongoing concern that certain policies and practices of nuclear weapon states undermine international progress toward nuclear disarmament, and draws attention to:

  • Continuing efforts by the United States to develop new generations of nuclear weapons;
  • The abrogation by the United States of the Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty, and US pursuit of strategic ballistic missile defence in spite of is destabilizing impact on the international strategic environment;
  • Assertion by the United States of nuclear use doctrines, including threats to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states party to the NPT, that undercut negative security assurances;
  • The failure of China, India, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea, and the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;
  • The revival of the uranium enrichment program of North Korea;
  • Russia's failure to undertake verifiable reductions of its non-strategic nuclear weapons;
  • The dangerous practice in Russia and the United States of maintaining strategic weapons on ongoing high alert status;
  • The failure of the Russia-US Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty to require the permanent dismantling of warheads removed from active deployment;
  • China's measures to expand and upgrade its strategic nuclear arsenal;
  • NATO's "nuclear sharing" policy which places nuclear weapons on the territories of non-nuclear states party to the NPT;
  • NATO's continuing assertion of that nuclear weapons are "essential" to its security, and its pledge to retain them for the foreseeable future; and
  • The continued retention of nuclear weapons by Israel, Pakistan and India and the failure of the international to seriously challenge these violations of the international norm against nuclear weapons acquisition;

Welcomes the ongoing struggle of many governments and civil society groups to advance nuclear disarmament and to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and draws attention to:

  • The decision of the Government of Libya to disavow the pursuit of nuclear weapons ands to open its nuclear facilities to international inspection;
  • The decision of the Government of Iran to accept the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) additional protocol and to open its facilities to more intensive inspections;
  • The continuing efforts, especially by China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States, to engage North Korea in pursuit of a full commitment to permanently forego the pursuit of nuclear weapons and to recommit to the NPT as a non-nuclear state party;
  • The 2002 G8 pledge of $20 billion in support of the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, with a priority focus on securing Russia's nuclear materials; and
  • The role of civil society organizations around the world in continuing to undertake research and public advocacy in support of the urgent objective of eliminating nuclear weapons;

Urges all States to make renewed and unprecedented efforts to ensure that the current NPT Review Process, leading to the 2005 NPT Review Conference, reinvigorates nuclear disarmament efforts, leads states to recommit to the principles and goals of the NPT, and sets the world on a path toward the final elimination of nuclear weapons through support for a series of bold measures, including

  • A halt to all nuclear weapons research and development;
  • The early approval and ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT);
  • Rejection of strategic Ballistic Missile Defence;
  • Pledges by all nuclear weapon states, in a series of interim measures, to: 
  • never be the first to use nuclear weapons,
  • fulfil their unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, to which all States Parties are committed under Article VI of the NPT,
  • never use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states party to the NPT;
  • permanently remove their nuclear weapons from high-alert status;
  • permanently remove all nuclear weapons from the territories of non-nuclear weapon states;
  • Steps by Russia and the United States to make all their nuclear disarmament agreements irreversible through requirements to permanently dismantle all weapons removed from active deployment;
  • Early commitment to the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty;
  • Efforts by Global Partnership states to accelerate implementation of Partnership objectives; and
  • A recommitment to preventing the horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons technology by:
  • providing the political and material support necessary to enable the IAEA to carry out its responsibilities,
  • continuing to press Iran and North Korea to abandon all uranium enrichment and plutonium extraction efforts toward a fully verifiable return to a status of non-nuclear states party to the NPT;
  • Providing for the return of international inspectors to Iraq to verify its full compliance with its obligation as a non-nuclear party to the NPT;
  • Commitment by all States to uphold and strengthen the multilateral framework for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation;

Encourages civil society organizations to:

  • Continue to monitor nuclear weapons issues and developments;
  • Continue to challenge states to redouble their nuclear disarmament efforts in accord with the requirement of the NPT and, especially, in accord with the requirements for human security;
  • Urge the states responsible for carrying out nuclear tests, that adequate compensation should be given to victims of these tests;

Calls on churches in the context of the Decade to Overcome Violence to renew their witness for peace and disarmament through education, public awareness building and advocacy to overcome the continuing threat of nuclear weapons; and

Asks the WCC to continue to:

  • Monitor nuclear disarmament efforts generally;
  • Encourage NATO governments to renounce their reliance on nuclear weapons; and
  • Explore ways of promoting attention to nuclear disarmament in Israel, Pakistan and India.