Cardinal calls for freeze on arms production, trade - 'How can we speak of peace even as we build terrifying new weapons of war'

Cardinal calls for freeze on arms production, trade: “How can we speak of peace even as we build terrifying new weapons of war?”

(Source: MJ/Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development)

A delegation of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development represented Prefect Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson at a webinar entitled “Post-COVID Multilateral Cooperation: A Nuclear Weapons Free World?”, hosted by the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS University of London in partnership with the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the United Kingdom on Tuesday September 8.

Cardinal Turkson’s speech, which was read by Alessio Pecorario, an official of the Dicastery, since His Eminence could not be physically present – stressed four types of calls that the Dicastery is willing to support in its work.

“At first, I would like to support the call against nuclear tests”, said Cardinal Turkson.

“As Pope Francis underlines, ‘nuclear weapons are a global problem, affecting all nations, and impacting future generations and the planet that is our home’. And Kazakh history shows that proliferation is not a one-way street. As known, after hosting more than 1.400 Soviet strategic nuclear warheads on its territory, Kazakhstan has become a leading country in the field of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, whose greatest result is maybe the creation of the Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in Central Asia”.

Then, Cardinal Turkson issued a strong call against the so-called doctrine of deterrence.

“How can we speak of peace even as we build terrifying new weapons of war?”, continued Cardinal Turkson, echoing words of the Holy Father.

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That is why “on its part, our Dicastery intends to continue its dialogue on disarmament, setting it within the broader context of integral peacebuilding”, the Integral Human Development Prefect said.

Thirdly, Turkson highlighted that “to achieve integral disarmament, it is… necessary to broke the whole logic of deterrence, be it nuclear or conventional”.

“For this reason, I welcome the UN Security Council’s recent endorsement of a global cease-fire”, the cardinal continued.

“But one thing is to call or endorse a cease-fire statement, another thing is to implement it. In order to do so, we need to freeze weapons production and dealing. Thus, the Dicastery would like to reaffirm its strong support in favor of the #FREEZE campaign”.

The most important call, concluded Turkson, is the call for peace.

In fact, “global issues require global solutions, as the coronavirus pandemic demonstrates. Pope Francis is calling for a globalisation of solidarity based especially on multilateral cooperation”.

But is must be clear that “the concept of globalisation of solidarity not only refers to State level, but includes all individuals and responds to the desire of human beings to feel rooted with their communities in the whole of humanity, to build bridges, keep dialogue open and continue to meet with one another”.

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Apart from the Dicastery, the following also took part in the webinar: Yerzhan Ashikbayev, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan; Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation; Lord Hannay of Chiswick, Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Security and Non-Proliferation; Kate Hudson, General Secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Vladimir Shkolnik, Chairman, Pugwash Committee of Kazakhstan; Peter Jenkins, Chairman, British Pugwash Group; and Aidan Liddle, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

The roundtable was moderated by Dr. Dan Plesch, Director, Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS University of London; and His Excellency Erlan Idrissov, the Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Kingdom.

Full text of Cardinal Turkson’s speech:

More news on Novena on Church campaigns for disarmament:

After 4 decades of Plowshares actions, it’s nuclear warfare that should be on trial – not activists

“At odds with official development goals”: Caritas Switzerland deplores record increase in “harmful” arms exports

Holy See pleads at UN: “It is impossible to make a moral case for continued nuclear weapon testing”

Vatican proposes on COVID-19 recovery: “What if instead of an arms race we ‘race’ towards food, health and work security?”

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Mada Jurado

Reporter and community manager at Novena
Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.
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