The APF are issuing the following statement in response to the UK government’s review which proposes a significant increase in nuclear warheads for the UK. This is goes directly against the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which the UK is a signatory.
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STATEMENT ON THE UK GOVERNMENT ‘INTEGRATED REVIEW’
The Anglican Pacifist Fellowship is opposed to all warfare and weapons. The way of Jesus Christ is peace. Warfare is not the way to settle disagreements between countries. The Fellowship is therefore deeply saddened to hear of the announcement earlier this week that the UK government sees it as the way forward, that it is going to increase its stockpile of nuclear weapons.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970 contained in Article 6 the undertaking that nuclear armed states such as the UK would pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament. The UK government’s plan to raise its cap on its number of nuclear warheads, from 195 to 260, goes completely against recent efforts to reduce the size of nuclear arsenals. And whilst it may be open to debate as to whether or not this latest announcement technically breaks this particular part of the treaty, there can be no argument that it does so in spirit and it sends out a signal to other nuclear armed states that somehow international credibility can be enhanced through possession of more and more nuclear weapons. And the consequences in those other states that they too will feel the need to increase their nuclear arsenals are too easy to imagine.
The announcement is a tragedy just as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has come into force: the Treaty focusing minds globally on the illegality of nuclear weapons and the need to eliminate them from the world stage altogether. This decision goes completely against the Treaty.
History has seen two atomic bombs dropped on Japan and the suffering and destruction which resulted. The numbers of warheads in Russia and the USA are in the thousands and dwarf the increased number planned for the UK. But it is almost beyond belief that anyone can seriously think that using weapons with consequences akin to (but worse than) Hiroshima or Nagasaki can in any way be meaningfully seen as defence. The use of just one such weapon anywhere in the world would be a humanitarian and environmental disaster.
But we must not lose heart. We believe in a God who is infinitely more powerful than any weapon that humanity can devise. Whatever is happening in the world around us, however many weapons it amasses, we are still led by Jesus to love others and to be peacemakers. And that enables hope to be brought to any situation, even this one. All we can do as a Fellowship is to work with other like-minded individuals and organisations to bring as much influence to bear as we can on those who feel these weapons to be necessary, so that they come to see that they are fruitless. And to work with our friends in every nation to bring about a world without them.
Issued: 19 March 2021