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Joint Interfaith Statement on the 75th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

6 August 2020

As a wide coalition of faith-based communities from around the world, we have committed to speaking with one voice that rejects the existential threat to humanity that nuclear weapons pose. We reaffirm that the presence of even one nuclear weapon violates the core principles of our different faith traditions and threatens the unimaginable destruction of everything we hold dear. Nuclear weapons are not only a future risk, their presence here and now undermines the ethical and moral foundations of the common good. We call for your commitment to a world that is more peaceful, safe, and just—a world only possible with the elimination of nuclear weapons.

August 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki—attacks which devastated these cities causing up to 213,000 deaths by the end of 1945 and many more in the following years. The attacks inflicted excruciating pain and suffering on both humans and the environment.

We are grateful for the global hibakusha, survivors, who have courageously borne witness, often in the face of intimidation and the recurring tragedy of loss and illness. We must meet the courage of the survivors with our own. We must abolish nuclear weapons forever.

We lament the racism and colonialism that drove the nuclear-weapon States to test their weapons on the communities that they deemed expendable, lives far away from their own, lives that mattered less, lives that were taken in pursuit of destructive power for a few. We acknowledge the immense suffering, oppression and exploitation faced by the Indigenous communities around the world whose bodies, lands, waters and air have served as the testing grounds for the ambitions of those who dominate with force.

Few who believe in the disingenuous notion of nuclear deterrence have witnessed or experienced the devastation of these weapons in their own communities. After seventy-five years we can see that nuclear weapons have not brought an end to war. Nuclear weapons do not create peace, rather they intensify the scourge and threat of war in our world, lives and communities. Because they are designed to cause massive and indiscriminate destruction, because they siphon precious resources that are needed to meet human needs and protect our shared planet, and because they enforce and sustain a global system based on domination and unending violence, the existence of nuclear weapons fundamentally contradicts the principles of any moral, religious and ethical system that values life.

Whilst many of our lives and imaginations might be far removed from memories of “hell on earth” and the legacies of environmental impacts, shattering health conditions and trauma wrought in a nuclear explosion, the impacts of the current global health crisis have given us all a glimpse into how life would change in the event of a nuclear explosion. Like the COVID-19 pandemic, the health, environmental and economic consequences would not be contained in space or time. Nuclear tests and accidents have revealed that radiation spreads through the atmosphere, oceans, plants, animals, and whole human populations. Our economies, production chains and ability to grow food would be severely disrupted.

Many have consigned the stories of the horrors of this time to our distant past—stories only to be revisited when certain leaders deem it necessary to remind their citizens what others might do to them if they give up their own nuclear capacities. But we will not forget or ignore the powerful witness of those affected by developing, testing and using nuclear weapons. We are committed to ending nuclear weapons forever to honor the global hibakusha and to save our children, grandchildren, and future generations from experiencing what they suffered. As we build a world where equality, peace and justice are abundant for all, there is no place for nuclear weapons in our shared future.

Despite commitments made—including under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)—nuclear-weapon States have continued to maintain and develop their nuclear arsenals, while other States have worked to acquire them.

Despite our clear-eyed awareness of the dangers of the present moment, we are united in our irrepressible belief that change for the good is possible—in individual lives and in our world. We know that in the most dangerous and threatening times, human beings are capable of cooperation, creative problem-solving and mutual trust. Indeed, the existence of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) itself reaffirms that hopefulness. The NPT was born out of a moment when fears about nuclear war and distrust were at a peak, and it acted as a beacon to remind nations that international collaboration was possible and that each nation’s security does not demand the insecurity of others, but rather is contingent upon the security of all. We find ourselves again in such a moment in which the reaffirmation of international norms and the embrace of the NPT’s ultimate promise—abolition—must be realized.

In 2017, this goal of abolition moved closer to becoming reality when the UN adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, calling for the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons. Once 50 States have ratified it, it will enter into force.

We urge our governments to use the opportunity of the 75th anniversary of the only occasion that nuclear weapons have been used in conflict, to ensure that they are never used again in any circumstances. We call upon all States to join the growing community of States which have rejected nuclear weapons entirely. We appeal to you to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.


Endorsing Organizations

Action des Chrétiens pour l'Abolition de la Torture (ACAT-France) Advocacy For Justice

All Africa Conference of Churches

All Souls Nuclear Disarmament Task Force Alliance of Baptists

American Baptist Churches, USA American Friends Service Committee Anglican Pacifist Fellowship ANUVIBHA

Arbeitsgruppe 11 "Evangelium und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung" der Vereinigung Evangelischer Freikirchen

Article 9 of the Japanese Peace Constitution in NCCJ Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Awakening Art & Culture

Baltimore Nonviolence Center Beloved Community

Birmingham (Alabama) Friends Meeting (Quaker) BPFNA-Bautistas por la Paz


Calvary Presbyterian Church Casa Esther Catholic Worker Casa Maria Catholic Worker Catholic Peace Ministry

Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception The Catholic Worker

CCFD-Terre Solidaire

Center for Peace Education – Miriam College Centre for Applied Buddhism

Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Christian Conference of Asia

Christians for Peace Newcastle (Australia) Church and Peace e.V.

Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations The Church of Scotland

Cleveland Nonviolence Network

Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach Columbia, MO Catholic Worker

Comisión General Justicia y Paz

The Commission for Justice and Peace – Archdiocese of Malta Committee on Social Issues of the German Baptist Union Communauté de Grandchamp

Community of Christ

Community of Christ (British Isles) Community of Christ Europe Congregation de Notre Dame of Montreal Congregation of Notre Dame USA

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S Provinces Council of Churches in the Netherlands

Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, USA Des Moines Catholic Worker

Dev Sanskriti University, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India Disciples Peace Fellowship

Dominican Sisters of Houston

Dorothy Day Catholic Worker- Washington, DC Dutch Association 'Kerk en Vrede'

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon Edmund Rice Centre

The Episcopal Church Episcopal Peace Fellowship

Fachgruppe Gerechtigkeit, Frieden und Bewahrung der Schöpfung der Evangelisch-methodistischen Kirche in Deutschlnad

Faith Action Network – WA state Faiths Forum for London

Fellowship of Reconciliation (England and Scotland) Fellowship of Reconciliation USA

Fondazione Proclade Internazionale-onlus Friedensnetz, Hamm

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ Hampshire and Islands Area Quaker Meeting

Heiwa Peace and Reconciliation Foundation of New York Help Yateem

The Hindu Temple Society of N.A. Home for Peace and Justice Humanists International

Institute for Mediation, Freiburg, Germany Interfaith Council of Sonoma County International Fellowship of Reconciliation International Network of Engaged Buddhists International Peace Research Association

InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia (IRTF Cleveland) Iowa CURE

Jain Network

Japanese American Religious Federation of San Francisco

Just Peace Task Force, Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, Indiana Justice and Peace Scotland

Justice For All

Kairos Peace Community, New York, NY Kings Bay Plowshares 7

Lake City Catholic Worker Farm Leadership Conference of Women Religious Loretto Community

Loretto Peace Committee

Los Angeles Catholic Worker

Martha Justice Ministry, Sisters of St. Martha, Antigonish Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Berlin Komitee Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

May Peace Prevail On Earth International Mennonite World Conference

The Methodist Church in Britain Metta Center for Nonviolence Michigan Poor Peoples’ Campaign

More Ecumenical Empowerment Together (MEET) Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd National Council of Churches

Nevada Desert Experience

New Vision Interspiritual Seminary Norfolk Catholic Worker

North Carolina Council of Churches

Office of Peace, Justice, and Ecological Integrity/Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth On Earth Peace

The Open Door Community Orthodox Peace Fellowship

Pace e Bene and Campaign Nonviolence Pacific Conference of Churches

Paroisse Saint François à Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique PAX

Pax Christi – Perú

Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand Pax Christi Australia

Pax Christi Austria Pax Christi Dallas

Pax Christi England & Wales Pax Christi Flanders

Pax Christi France

Pax Christi Hampton Roads Pax Christi International

Pax Christi Ireland Pax Christi Italia Pax Christi Korea

Pax Christi Metro New York Pax Christi Northern California Pax Christi Philippines

Pax Christi Scotland Pax Christi USA

The Peacemakers' Circle Foundation, Inc. Peaceworkers

Pennsylvania Council of Churches Phoenix Settlement Trust

Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism

Pooha-Bah Traditional Native American Healing Center Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness The Presbyterian Church of the Roses

Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

The Rabbinical Seminary International Ravidassia Community Centre Redwood City Catholic Worker Redwood Forest Friends Meeting Reformed Church in America Religions for Peace Philippines Religions for Peace UK

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers in Britain) Roots of Peace

Rotarians 4 Nuclear Ban

Saint Junia United Methodist Church

San Francisco Friends Meeting Peace Committee Silsilah Dialogue Movement

Sisters of Charity Federation

Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Congregational Leadership Sisters of Charity of New York

Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy Sisters of the Good Shepherd

Sisters of the Presentation, Dubuque, IA Sojourners

Soka Gakkai International Ss.Anthony and Philip Parish

SS.Francis and Therese Catholic Worker

St Peter's Episcopal Parish, Seattle, WA St. Benedict Catholic Worker

Strangers and Guests Catholic Worker Farm Swedenborgian Church of North America Tariki Buddhist Therapists Forum

Temple of Understanding Tikkun

Union for Reform Judaism Unitarian Universalist Association

Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society United Reformed Church (UK)

United Religions Initiative

Viva House, Baltimore Catholic Worker Western Episcopal District AME Zion Church Windsor Community United Methodist Church Won Buddhism

The World Bosniak Congress World Council of Churches World Yoga Community