UK faith leaders call for new initiatives to bring an end to nuclear weapons
13 March 2015
- 26 UK
faith leaders sign statement to end nuclear weapons
- Read the full statement
- Read the signatories' letter published in The Times newspaper
Faith leaders across the UK have signed a statement calling on
nuclear weapons states to join with other states to implement new
approaches to eliminate nuclear arsenals.
Ahead of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review
Conference meeting from 27 April to 22 May 2015, senior
representatives from eight faiths in the UK, including Christian,
Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist, have given their backing to a
statement calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The faith
leaders argue that nuclear arsenals "violate the principle of
dignity for every human being that is common to each of our faith
The statement urges nuclear weapons states to "develop a robust
plan of action that will lead us to a nuclear weapon free world"
and stresses that "it is necessary to move beyond the division of
our world into recognised nuclear and non-nuclear weapons
The statement has been supported by the Revd Dr Chris Ellis,
President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Rt Revd John
Chalmers, Moderator of the Church of Scotland General Assembly, the
Revd Kenneth G. Howcroft and Gill Dascombe, President and
Vice-President of the Methodist Conference; John Ellis, Moderator
of the United Reformed Church and Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for
Quakers in Britain.
Other signatories include the Most Revd Malcolm McMahon,
Archbishop of Liverpool; Maulana Shahid Raza OBE, British Muslim
Forum; Bharti Tailor, The Hindu Forum of Europe; Lord
(Indarjit) Singh of Wimbledon, Network of Sikh Organisations and
Ven B. Seelawimala, London Buddhist Vihara.
In recent years, the UK government has strongly resisted
proposals for negotiation of a new treaty that would lead to the
elimination of nuclear weapons. In 2010, the UK, along with the US,
Russia, China and France, rejected an invitation from the UN
Secretary General for talks around a five-point plan on nuclear
disarmament. In 2013, the same states stayed away from the United
Nations Open-Ended Working Group to develop proposals to take
forward multilateral nuclear disarmament.
The statement from UK faith leaders follows the pledge of the
Government of Austria to work
to fill the gap in international law with respect to nuclear
weapons. Fifty other states have also indicated their intention for
nuclear weapons to be treated in a similar way to chemical and
biological weapons under international law.
The Revd Kenneth G. Howcroft, President of the Methodist
Conference, said: "The joint statement demonstrates to the UK
government the strong desire on the part of faith communities for
concerted action on nuclear weapons. His Holiness, Pope Francis,
has recently spoken of the need to declare such weapons as
illegitimate under international law. As faith communities, we urge
the UK government to use its considerable influence to build
support for new initiatives on disarmament."
1.The full text of the statement is
here and the list of signatories can be read
2. Some of those supporting this statement do so in their
personal capacity and not on behalf of the faith group to which
they are affiliated.
3. In December, an international faith leaders statement
called for a
new legal instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons
4. Read the signatories' letter published in The Times on
13 March 2015
5. Kenneth Howcroft is available for interview.