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25 UK faith leaders sign statement to end nuclear weapons

Faith leaders across the UK have signed a statement calling on the UK government to join with other states to Nuclearimplement a robust plan of action that will lead to a world free of nuclear weapons.

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 traditions”. This comes ahead of May’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference which will review plans on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The statement also stresses that “it is necessary to move beyond the division of our world into recognised nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states”.

In 2010, the UK, along with the other four nuclear-weapons states (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 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.” 

The statement has been signed by Revd Dr Chris Ellis, President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. Other signatories include, 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 and John Ellis, Moderator of the United Reformed Church.
To read the full statement and list of signatories visit http://www.endnuclearweapons.org.uk/.           

Baptist Times, 12/03/2015
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