from Pax Christi International
“Any use of nuclear weapons would be abhorrent to the principles of humanity.” ~from the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
For decades Pax Christi International has been working toward a nuclear weapon-free world with members and partners from every corner of the world. (Nuclear disarmament has been a top priority of Pax Christi USA since our founding in 1972.) Recently, Honduras, ratified the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, agreeing with 84 other signatories and 49 other states parties to “never under any circumstance . . . develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons.”
The treaty brings the force of international law to nuclear disarmament efforts. Pax Christi International and Pax Christi USA celebrate this historic achievement, including the efforts of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, of which we are a long-time member. More than 80 countries have shown moral leadership through early signings and ratifications, and we urge remaining UN Member States to follow in their lead.
The new treaty reinforces legal, diplomatic, and financial pressure in addition to public advocacy for the total eradication of nuclear weapons. The treaty enters into force in three months.
Nuclear devices are weapons of mass destruction, with radiation disproportionately affecting women and girls. Indigenous people are especially vulnerable as their lands are exploited for resource extraction and testing in the development of nuclear technologies.
The UN treaty obliges states parties to help with victim assistance and environmental remediation, within and beyond their own jurisdictions. An estimated 200,000 people died as a direct result of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with many survivors—the hibakusha—still struggling with discrimination, trauma, and extensive health problems.
Pax Christi International, Pax Christi USA and member organizations in all regions will continue to advocate for further signatures, ratifications, and full implementation of this treaty. Our work will continue with church leaders, governments, and at the United Nations. As the Catholic peace movement, we look especially to the Vatican for leadership, encouraged by Pope Francis’s words, “The common destiny of humankind demands a world without nuclear weapons.”
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons. There are nine nuclear-armed states in the world, none of which have signed the treaty. It was adopted at the United Nations on 7 July 2017. For the full text of the treaty, please visit the United Nations website. For more information on the ongoing efforts to build a world without nuclear weapons, visit the ICAN website.