Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit marching for peace, in Oslo, Norway, December 2017. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit marching for peace, in Oslo, Norway, December 2017. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

In a message to the World Economic Forum, World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said he can think of no greater antithesis to a vision of shared life and responsibility than the continued existence of and political and social support for nuclear weapons.

“There is absolutely no moral justification whatsoever for using them,” he stated. “The time has come to say together that for the sake of the one humanity there is no moral ground on which we can keep them and threaten one another with them.”

The 48th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum will be held in Davos, Switzerland from 23-26 January under the theme “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.”

The risk that nuclear weapons will be used because of a mistake or by irresponsible people is very real, Tveit continued. “Still, this most destructive and indiscriminate type of weapon of mass destruction ever devised by men (and I use the gender-specific term deliberately) continues to be the keystone of our global ‘security’ regime,” he wrote. “It is time to say together that this is wrong.”

The World Economic Forum is challenging participants to find ways to reaffirm international cooperation on crucial shared interests, such as international security, the environment and the global economy in the context of rising geostrategic competition between states.

It is time to call both using and having nuclear weapons a sin, Tveit continues. “Nuclear weapons are designed to destroy entire cities, with every man, woman, child and every living creature in them,” he said. “Moreover, they destroy the natural environment itself, their deadly radioactive legacy lingering and poisoning the very earth for millennia.”

Nuclear weapons destroy what is built up for the common good through politics, through the economy, through civil society, Tveit adds. “The adoption last year of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations gives the nations of the world a salutary and long overdue opportunity to create a new normative, ethical and moral standard against nuclear weapons – against any development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use or threat of use of such weapons – and for environmental remediation and assistance to the victims of nuclear weapons use and testing,” he writes.

Full message by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, published 22 January 2018

Invitation to media: Tveit to participate in World Economic Forum in Davos, 24-26 January