ON THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), Christian peace organisations (including Ekklesia) are calling on the UK government to back the ban on the weapons.

The UN treaty makes it illegal under international law to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess, stockpile, transfer, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons. Sixty-eight states are party to it.

Quakers in Britain have been part of the global movement campaigning against nuclear weapons since their first use 78 years ago. But the UK government has steadfastly refused to engage with this treaty.

In an open letter delivered to the Foreign Office, the Network of Christian Peace Organisations also called on Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to consider the ongoing health and environmental legacy of British nuclear tests in Australia and over Pacific Islands. “This Treaty represents the global majority who live without nuclear weapons and wish to see them eradicated,” wrote signatories including Fellowship of Reconciliation and Christian CND. The widespread involvement of countries shows the ability of many nations to come together to work for peace, they added.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reminds us all of the fragility of peace and the importance of investing time, money and diplomatic energy in creating and building peace,” the letter says. “The strong statements from President Putin, hinting at the potential use of nuclear weapons highlighted to us all the continued threat that the presence of these weapons in any nation pose to the whole world.”

The UK became party to another treaty, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), in 1970 and has been joined by 190 other states.

But critics say there has been little progress on nuclear disarmament with the five recognised nuclear-weapons states continuing to hold 13,400 warheads. India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea are not party to the NPT and are thought to possess nuclear weapons.

Oliver Robertson, head of witness and worship at Quakers in Britain, said: “The horrendous power of nuclear weapons runs contrary to the Quaker belief that there is that of God in every person. We call on the UK Government to become involved with the nuclear prohibition treaty, and to consider the damage our nuclear tests caused. All nuclear weapons should be eliminated.”

* Read the full letter here.

* More information on the Network of Christian Peace Organisations here.

* Source: Quakers in Britain