More than 50 religious and colleagues have come together to understand more deeply why Australia should ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and what can be done to achieve this. Source: CRA.
An online webinar this week, organised by Catholic Religious Australia in collaboration with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Australia, explored the history of nuclear weapons and the current situation.
Anne Walker, CRA National Executive Director, noted that on his visit to the Nagasaki's Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park in 2019, Pope Francis spoke out against nuclear weapons, stating that “the arms race wastes precious resources that could be better used to benefit the integral development of peoples and to protect the natural environment”.
She said nuclear weapons pose an enormous existential threat for people and the planet, with their ongoing existence risking catastrophic loss of human life, severe environmental damage, degradation to human health, and breakdown of national and global security.
It is time for Australia to end its complicity in the nuclear problem, she said.
Participants heard from Dimity Hawkins, co-founder of ICAN, who explained the significance of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force on January 22, 2021.
She said the humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons were what changed the international tide in this seemingly intractable issue.
Gem Romuld, the Australian Director for ICAN, explained that Australia does not support the treaty and instead supports nuclear deterrence.
She said there were a number of actions that Australians could take to become a nuclear weapon-ban advocate, including to urge the Australian government to send a representative to the first meeting of State Parties to the Treaty in March 2022 in Vienna.