UCA calls on government to support nuclear treaty

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The Uniting Church has called on the Australian government to sign a historic United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons.

It comes as North Korea successfully fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) earlier this month. It was the eleventh missile test conducted by the North Korean government this year.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by 122 countries on 7 July, is the first legally-binding instrument to ban nuclear weapons.

Countries that sign the treaty will be prohibited from developing, producing, testing and stockpiling nuclear weapons.

Uniting Church President Stuart McMillan said all nuclear weapons must be eliminated to ensure the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are never repeated again.

“The devastating consequences of nuclear weapons are clear to everyone,” Mr McMillan said.

“Throughout our 40-year history the Uniting Church in Australia has always advocated strongly for nuclear disarmament, and we will continue to do so.

“As Christians, we are called to find peaceful solutions to conflict and overcome violence for a world reconciled in Christ.”

None of the nine nuclear-armed states – US, China, France, Britain, Russia, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea – participated in the treaty negotiations. These countries collectively possess an estimated 15,000 nuclear weapons.

The Australian government also boycotted the talks, reiterating its long-standing belief that a total nuclear ban will not enhance security.

Their stance was slammed by International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Asia-Pacific director, Tim Wright.

“There are people in Canberra and elsewhere who believe that Australia is protected by US nuclear weapons,” Mr Wright said.

“If we’re saying nuclear weapons are essential for our security, then how can we say that North Korea shouldn’t rely on nuclear weapons also? It’s an incitement to proliferate.”

The Uniting Church is a partner organisation of ICAN, which was first established in Melbourne ten years ago and has since grown to include non-government organisations from more than 100 countries.


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