Prayer and hope mark anniversary of atomic bombings

By agency reporter
August 5, 2016

This year (2016), 6 and 9 August mark the 71st anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two Japanese cities destroyed by atomic bombs with a combined death toll estimated at more than 225,000 people.

Noting the anniversary, Peter Prove, director of the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA), commented: “With a prayer for peace, we turn our thoughts this week to the annihilation of two cities in Japan 71 years ago.The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki broke the laws of God and of humanity on an unprecedented scale.An era of global fear and suspicion ensued, and continues today.”

In 1996, the International Court of Justice ruled that all states have an obligation to pursue nuclear disarmament in good faith and to achieve it. Nuclear weapons threaten the entirety of life on the planet, the court said, and gravely damage the interests of future generations.

The WCC last year sent a delegation to the two cities to honour the victims of the bombings, to pray for peace, and to urge nations with nuclear weapons to pursue disarmament.

Prove continued, “Now a solid majority of countries in a special UN Working Group are considering negotiating a ban on nuclear weapons.We give thanks for the member churches who are advocating that course of action, for partners in civil society and for like-minded governments.”

“What happened in Japan 71 years ago must never happen again,” he added. “The nine states that have nuclear weapons must meet their obligations and eliminate their nuclear arsenals.The suffering inflicted on Hiroshima and Nagasaki requires nothing less.”

Japan was also the site of a March 2011 nuclear accident after a tsunami disabled the nuclear power plant at Fukushima and caused a meltdown of its core which released radioactive material. The WCC’s efforts toward a nuclear-free world encompass nuclear weapons and nuclear power.

* The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

* World Council of Churches http://www.oikoumene.org/en

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