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Vatican joins experts from around the world to raise awareness about nuclear disarmament

The Vatican is pushing for the elimination of nuclear weapons. It convened hundreds of experts from around the world to achieve the objective. Among them were various Nobel Peace Prize winners, such as Muhammad Yunus and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. 

ADOLFO PÉREZ ESQUIVEL
Nobel Peace Prize winner

“Final solutions are not going to come from a conference. They have to come from alternate routes to find balance and restore balance between populations. Pope Francis is a visionary; he is fundamentally a pastor and is looking for the common good of all humanity.”

MUHAMMAD YUNUS
Nobel Peace Prize winner, Grameen Bank founder

“We want to create a world with zero nuclear weapons and also weapons of mass destruction that is the goal, we don't need that.”

The increase in tension between the United States and North Korea have brought the threat of a nuclear war back into focus. The UN held an international conference this year to avoid it. Its objective is to create legal means of banning nuclear weapons. 

In the first phase, celebrated in March, 123 countries voted in favor of the resolution, 38 against and 16 abstained. However, in the second phase – celebrated in July – 122 countries voted in favor, one voted against (Holland) and one abstained (Singapore).

The agreement opened for signing on September 20 and will go into effect when it is ratified by 50 countries, including the chance for nations with nuclear arms to join as well. However, the initiative lacks support from the United States, France and Great Britain. The countries have said they “don't want to sign, ratify or be a part” of this agreement. 

BEATRICE FIHN
Executive Director of ICAN

“I think for the first time in a long time we are seeing that this issue is coming back to the public attention, we see a very negative trend between the nuclear arm states who are raising tensions and the risks of a nuclear war is increasing, but we also see a very positive trend where the majority of states in the world are rejecting nuclear weapons.”

IZUMI NAKAMITSU
UN Disarmament Affairs (Japan)

“Tension is rising, because it is a world with a lot of dangers, practical dangers. We think disarmament must be given more attention. We are not giving up at all, on disarmament, quite the contrary because the situation is very difficult. We think disarmament discussions are more important.”

This congress also has an objective of raising awareness. Among the attendees were survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That's how the Vatican wants to demonstrate its concern over the catastrophic humanitarian consequences caused by the use of nuclear arms.