Hiroshima and Nagasaki must never happen again, says WCC chief

By staff writers
7 Aug 2011

The head of the World Council of Churches has said that Hiroshima and Nagasaki are nuclear tragedies that must never be repeated.

The comment comes as people across the world are marking the anniversaries of the two bombings, August 6 and 9 1945, as profound moments of sorrow and as a reason for renewing hope beyond the dropping of atomic bombs on the two Japanese islands 66 years ago, at the end of World War II.

"For as long as nuclear weapons exist, each year brings us new reasons to build a world where such a tragedy can never happen again,” the Rev Dr Olav Fkyse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, said in a statement released this weekend.

He continued: "Last December the world saw a small step forward when the US and Russia ratified a verifiable new treaty to reduce their nuclear arsenals slightly. The past year, with a push from civil society including churches, a solid majority of governments are on record for the first time in support of a specific convention or similar agreement to ban all nuclear weapons.

"Yet here in Geneva, there was backsliding and deadlock once again at the Conference on Disarmament, where 65 governments regularly gather with a mandate for such negotiations. The nine countries that have nuclear weapons – plus a few tempted to join them – continue to block progress for everyone.

"Despite debt and financial crises, the nine nuclear-weapon states are also modernising their nuclear arsenals at a rate that will cost one trillion dollars over the next decade, said a civil society study released in June. Such actions will guarantee that nuclear weapons exist indefinitely.

"Again this year, on behalf of churches in the member states of NATO, the WCC, the Conference of European Churches, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and the Canadian Council of Churches urged the NATO alliance to withdraw the last US nuclear weapons stationed in Europe and reduce its overall reliance on nuclear weaponry," said Dr Tveit.

Founded in 1948, the WCC today brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other national churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

* The full statement can be read here: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/statem...

[Ekk/3]

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