Statement at the United Nations Disarmament Commission
During the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
New York, 5 April 2023
Allow me to start by congratulating you on your election as chair of this Working Group and assure you of the Holy See’s support.
In his annual message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis lamented that “The war in Ukraine is reaping innocent victims and spreading insecurity, not only among those directly affected, but in a widespread and indiscriminate way for everyone, also for those who, even thousands of kilometres away, suffer its collateral effects.” In this way, the conflict offers a macabre preview of the devastating consequences that a nuclear war would have for all humankind.
In the face of such a threat, Pope Francis stresses: “We can no longer think exclusively of carving out space for our personal or national interests; instead, we must think in terms of the common good, recognizing that we belong to a greater community, and opening our minds and hearts to universal human fraternity.”
Thankfully, this Commission offers us an important opportunity to address the issue of nuclear weapons in the spirit of such fraternity. Arriving at consensus in this forum has proven difficult in the past; however, the broad inclusion of all States within the Commission makes it unique within the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. While we may disagree on the relative merits of various components of the regime, the present nuclear danger obligates us to commit to dialogue regarding principles for achieving of a world free of nuclear weapons. In this regard, any consensus outcome from this Working Group would be a welcome development, even if it may lack the ambition preferred by most States.
In this regard, the Holy See expresses its deep regret that the States parties to the New START Treaty have decided to forego the semiannual data exchange. At a time of heightened tensions, transparency with regard to nuclear arsenals is more vital than ever. In this regard, my delegation calls on States possessing the greatest number of nuclear weapons, to engage in a good faith dialogue on the issue before the last vestige of nuclear arms control is lost to the detriment of global security.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
 Pope Francis, Message for the 56th World Day of Peace, 1 January 2023, 4.
 Idem., 5.