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First Committee Statement on Nuclear Disarmament

On October 22, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, gave an intervention during the First Committee discussions of the Seventy-third Session of the General Assembly dedicated to the theme of “Nuclear Disarmament.”

In his statement, Archbishop Auza said that a nuclear war would be unimaginably catastrophic, resulting in untold deaths, environmental damage and famine, and therefore the existence of 14,000 nuclear weapons constitutes one of today’s greatest moral challenges. He traced the history of the Catholic Church’s opposition to nuclear weapons from 1943 onward and underlined Pope Francis’ words that “nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutually assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence” and that the threat of the use of weapons “as well as their very possession is to be firmly condemned.” He said that nuclear weapon States have not fully respected their legal obligation to pursue good faith negotiations toward the elimination of nuclear weapons: the Non-Proliferation Treaty is 50 years old and no comprehensive negotiations for nuclear disarmament have taken place. He added that the recently adopted Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons could be a major step toward their elimination and strongly encouraged all Governments to join the Holy See in signing and ratifying it.

The statement can be found here.