On October 17, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, gave an intervention during the First Committee deliberations of the Seventy-third Session of the General Assembly on Agenda Items 102 (jj) and 102 (kk), dedicated respectively to the themes of the “Humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons” and the “Ethical imperatives for a nuclear-weapon-free world.”
In his statement, Archbishop Auza said that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, signed and ratified by the Holy See in September 2017, gives hope that one day the world will be free from nuclear weapons. He said that States signing the Treaty have rejected the fallacy that “might makes right” and that some nations have the right to nuclear weapons while others do not. Strategies of deterrence, he stated, are deeply ethically flawed, since such strategies necessarily embrace the possible use of these weapons. For that reason Pope Francis has said that the threat of the use of nuclear weapons, “as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned.” Abolition of nuclear weapons involves not just negotiation, disarmament and verification, but moral conversion from fear to mutual trust. He said that establishing the goal of abolition of nuclear arsenals is not enough but the means to achieve it are also needed. Among them is the global public authority to verify elimination. He commented on the situation on the Korean Peninsula and Iran, as well as on the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, the proposal for a Middle East Nuclear Free Zone, and the insights offered by the non-paper “Securing Our Common Future: the Agenda for Disarmament.”
The statement can be found here.