By Lisa Zengarini
Religions for Peace Norway has urged the Norwegian Government to join the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which seeks for the first time to establish a comprehensive ban on the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as obligations for victim assistance and environmental remediation. The Treaty was adopted on July 7 2017 and will come into force on 22 January. Until now, it has been ratified by 51 Countries. Norway, however, has consistently opposed signing the TPNW, arguing that it would come into conflict with its membership in NATO.
Regret that Norway has not joined the Treaty
According to the World Council of Churches website, the Norwegian leaders of Religions for Peace have expressed “deep regret” that the Country has not joined the Treaty , reminding that: “The threat of a catastrophic mass eradication using nuclear weapons was one of the most important reasons for more than 400 religious leaders to be brought together in Kyoto in Japan in 1970 for the first World Conference of Religions for Peace”.
“As Norwegian representatives of Religions for Peace, we are deeply convinced that the existence and use of nuclear weapons is fundamentally in conflict with our religious values and ethical principles,” the appeal stresses. “In the name of humanity, we cannot accept the use of nuclear weapons”.
Unacceptable support for the use of nuclear weapons
According to the Norwegian peace leaders, as long as nuclear weapons exist, there is a danger that they may be used. They therefore claim that “Norwegian current support for the use of nuclear weapons that violate human dignity is unacceptable,” stressing there is “no decisive conflict between international law, moral principles, Norway’s membership in NATO, and the ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”.
Noting that the annual expenses used on nuclear weapons globally are estimated to at least 100 billion US dollars, the appeal also points out that: “More of our resources should be used for human development and protection of the creation, and not for investing in weapons that can eradicate the world’s human population”.