Jul. 22, 2020

* WCC calls for disarmament amid remembrance of nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

A woman performs a traditional dance during an interfaith service in Nagasaki, Japan, 2015, Photo:Paul Jeffrey/WCC

20 July 2020

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling for a world free from nuclear weapons, as the international community prepares to commemorate 75 years since the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Already, the WCC has published the first few in a series of blog posts highlighting different reflections and experiences from those who are calling for an end to nuclear weapons, from Japan, from the Pacific, from nuclear weapons states, and from those leading advocacy at the global level.

The attacks on 6 and 9 August 1945 killed or injured several hundred thousands of people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many more suffered for years afterwards, from having been exposed to the deadly radiation released into the air and water.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which was adopted by the United Nations in 2017, will create a new normative standard in international law against the possession and development of nuclear weapons, as well as against their use - but only after 50 States have ratified it. Even before entry into force the treaty is already having a strong impact, as many banks and financial institutions divest from companies which are involved in the production of nuclear weapons.

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, five more States have recently recognized and responded to the urgent need to prohibit nuclear weapons - Namibia, Belize , Lesotho, Fiji and Botswana - bringing the total number of ratifications to date up to 40.

In the ecumenical movement, many also look back to the WCC 1st Assembly in 1948, where those gathered declared that war with atomic weapons was a “sin against God and a degradation of man.”