Arms control and disarmament

Advocating at various levels of national and international governance for nuclear disarmament

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Since its inauguration after the devastation of the Second World War, the WCC has considered promotion of peace as inseparable from international, regional, and national measures for disarmament. It raises ecumenical concerns and advocates at various levels of national and international governance for nuclear disarmament, control of the spread of other weapons of mass destruction, accountability under the international rule of law, and fulfilment of treaty obligations.

Over the last 70 years, churches have come together to speak out against the destruction caused by all manner of weapons, and to advocate for complete prohibitions or restrictions on their use. A Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has recently been adopted, but faces strong opposition from states who believe they need these weapons for their own security. Other critical areas include light weapons, autonomous weapons systems, and landmines.

The WCC advocates on these issues, working with churches to create movements in their own countries to educate citizens about the dangers of these weapons and to call upon their own governments to disarm. 

As part of the work of the WCC’s Commission of the Churches in International Affairs, the programme raises ecumenical concerns and advocates at various levels of national and international governance for nuclear disarmament, control of the spread of other weapons of mass destruction, accountability under the international rule of law, and fulfilment of treaty obligations.

It urges churches to follow up on the Ninth Assembly Minute on Nuclear Arms and the Tenth Assembly Statement on the Way of Just Peace with their governments, and supports them with advocacy letters, background information, and study materials.

Churches and councils engaged in efforts for nuclear arms control receive advice and develop new contacts to support regional, national, local, or civil society actions, including interreligious initiatives.

Over the coming period, the WCC’s disarmament advocacy will focus on:

  • Continued advocacy with countries to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Once the treaty has received 50 ratifications, it will enter into force.
  • Working with churches in states which possess nuclear weapons to ensure congregations understand how such weapons are contrary to God’s plans for us, and speak out against them
  • Advocating about the human rights impacts of unregulated light weapons and other illegal weapons, and the potentially devastating consequences of the development of “killer robots.”
Resources

Mrs Jennifer Philpot-Nissen, Programme Executive for Human Rights and Disarmament

Commission of the Churches on International Affairs

Email: Jennifer.Philpot-Nissen@wcc-coe.org

Tel.: +41 22 791 6313