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All-Africa Conference of Churches welcomes Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty

All-Africa Conference of Churches welcomes Nuclear Prohibition Treaty All-Africa Conference of Churches salutes the recent coming into force of the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), hailing it as further inspiration to work for a nuclear-weapons-free world.

By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ  The first-ever Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) came into force on 22 January 2021 after years of negotiations. The Treaty, welcomed by many as a step towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons, was signed four years after it was adopted by the UN in 2017.

Hailing this recent development, the All-Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), in a statement on Tuesday, expressed its support, together with the rest of the ecumenical community, for the Treaty which now becomes international law.

The ecumenical body said that the Treaty “ushers in the possibilities of heralding a new world free of the threats and tensions that have been characterized by the battle to develop and hold nuclear weapons.”

No safe hands for nuclear weapons

In the Tuesday statement, AACC stated its belief “that the very holding and potential threat of use of nuclear weapons is immoral,” adding that it looks forward to the day “when the world will be freed of these weapons permanently.”

“There are no safe hands for these weapons,” added AACC. “The accidental or deliberate detonation of a nuclear weapon would cause severe, long-lasting and far-reaching harm on all aspects of our lives and our environment throughout the world.”

At the same time, these technologies are “part of structures and systems that bring about great suffering and destruction” and have been the cause of “major tensions and threats of widespread devastation.”

TPNW: inspiration for a nuclear-weapon-free world

In the wake of the entry into force of the Treaty, AACC said that at a time when the world desperately needs fresh hope, the TPNW inspires us to work towards fully eliminating “the threat of nuclear weapons, and to create conditions for peace, justice and well-being.”

AACC also pointed out that the treaty addresses the disproportionate impact of nuclear weapons on women and indigenous peoples, as well as the “importance of victim assistance and healing environmental harms in a groundbreaking way.”

Citing the example of the hibakusha – survivors of the two nuclear attacks launched at Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II – AACC noted that their courage and perseverance serve as “the inspiration, guidance and moral foundation” in the quest for a world without nuclear weapons.

Appeal to States

Highlighting that none of the nine nuclear global powers, and many countries with defense pacts with them have signed or ratified the Treaty, AACC pointed out that a lot of work still remains to be done.  As at its entry into force, the TPNW was signed by 86 countries and ratified by 51.

n this regard, AACC appealed to the ecumenical global community to make its contribution, in whichever way possible, to participate in the global work for peace, justice and respect for life.

Concretely, the ecumenical body is urging all States to sign and ratify the TPNW, as well as join the first meeting of the State parties scheduled for next year. AACC further calls for decisive action “to strengthen the power of the TPNW upon its entry into force, and to work for peace, cooperation and common security.”

“We must not be discouraged at the slow pace, but become even more determined to push for a better world,” AACC said. “This is part of our mission and we know God is on our side.”


Founded in Kampala, Uganda, in 1963, the AAAC is an ecumenical association that today has 173 member churches present in 40 African countries, representing over 120 million Christians on the continent. Its headquarters is in Nairobi, Kenya.

January 30, 2021 - Posted by | AFRICA, politics international, Religion and ethics, weapons and war

1 Comment »

  1. 100 seconds to midnight: the dissonance & madness of our present horror
    By Rainer Shea

    Reprinted w authors permission

    Something feels bizarre about living in the current era, the era in which the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists just concluded that we’re metaphorically 100 seconds away from the extinction of humanity. This strange feeling has been present for a while now, going back to when the Bulletin’s “Doomsday Clock” reached 2 minutes to midnight in January of 2018 for the first time since 1953.

    The Bulletin’s statement from this year on why we’re just 100 seconds away from annihilation cites the fact that “An extremely dangerous global failure to address existential threats”–“-what we called ‘the new abnormal’ in 2019”–“-tightened its grip in the nuclear realm in the past year, increasing the likelihood of catastrophe.” The new abnormal began creeping up in the middle of the last decade, when the U.S. empire reacted to its dwindling hegemony and the rise of its geopolitical rivals by effectively restarting the cold war. Following the beginning of Obama’s pivot to Asia at the beginning of the 2010s, where Washington began a campaign of military buildup against China in the Indo-Pacific, in 2014 Washington installed a fascist regime in Ukraine that started a proxy war with Russia.

    Nuclear tensions between the great powers once again flared up, and in January of 2015 the Doomsday Clock was set at 3 minutes to midnight for the first time since 1984. As the threat of World War III continued to escalate during the next few years, with alarming skirmishes breaking out between the U.S. and Russia in Syria and Washington engaging in wild provocations against China and Iran, the clock was for the first time moved to 100 seconds to midnight in January of last year. Given the great risks of further geopolitical tensions the Eurasia Group anticipates for this next year, which will be spurred on by the projected2021 crash of the dollar, it will surprise me if the clock gets further away from midnight next year.
    Of course, the clock is only an arbitrary marker of where the global conditions are perceived to be at, one which can give us a kind of comfort purely because of how it provides our psyches with such a simplistic numerical assessment. What more reliably creates psychological horror is examining the practical details behind why the risk of a third world war is now unprecedented. We can intellectually understand the great-power conflict risk estimates that I’ve mentioned and the surface-level causes behind them that I’ve described, but we can’t grasp what they mean without looking at exactly which forces are shaping this historical nightmare.
    The root cause of the clock’s current placement is that capitalism and U.S./NATO imperialism are in a state of crisis. Washington’s illegal and catastrophic invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in reaction to 9/11 set off a chain reaction where amid the rise of China and the emerging geopolitical independence of Russia, the U.S. began to rapidly lose its superpower status. Then the 2008 economic crash, along with the even greater crash in 2020, hollowed out the U.S. empire’s internal productive power by throwing tens of millions into unemployment and poverty. By 2017, the Pentagon was willing to create a paradigm of great-power tensions even more dangerous than that of the Cold War, as expressed in a U.S. military document from that year which Nafeez Ahmed described as follows:
    The document is particularly candid in setting out why the U.S. sees these countries as threats–not so much because of tangible military or security issues, but mainly because their pursuit of their own legitimate national interests is, in itself, seen as undermining American dominance. Russia and China are described as “revisionist forces” who benefit from the U.S.-dominated international order, but who dare to “seek a new distribution of power and authority commensurate with their emergence as legitimate rivals to U.S. dominance.” Russia and China, the analysts say, “are engaged in a deliberate program to demonstrate the limits of U.S. authority, will, reach, influence, and impact.”
    Since the United States is the largest empire in the history of the world, and has weapons that are capable of destroying all life on the planet, its process of imperial collapse is naturally what’s bringing humanity closer than ever to extinction. Declining empires tend to engage in reckless war provocations with rivals to try to regain lost territory, or commit horrific atrocities as part of their internal political reaction; an ominous fact of history is that Nazi Germany emerged because of the decline of the German empire. It was only logical that in the case of the United States, the outcome of decline would be a situation like ours, where the globe hangs on the brink of nuclear holocaust and will remain so until the U.S. ceases to exist.
    And whether or not this holocaust happens, the reality for those within reach of the empire’s deadly grip is one of ever greater bloodshed, poverty, and trauma. In its first week, the Biden administration has accelerated the rate of drone strikes in Somalia so much that at the current frequency, the number of U.S. drone strikes in Somalia for 2021 will surpass those from within the last several years. The new administration is refusing to lift Trump’s sanctions against Iran, which especially in the Covid-19 era amount to a policy of genocide. The IMF is imposing more austerity, privatization, and wage cuts across 81 countries as Biden’s team quietly aims to push for more austerity in the U.S., and as Big Tech moves to expand the surveillance state under the “Great Reset” brand. All the while, the climate crisis drifts towards its inevitable point of creating vast humanitarian catastrophe for even the Third World countries, with Wall Street taking advantage of this fact by turning the increasingly scarce water supply into a betting commodity.
    In the backdrop of these late-stage capitalist conditions is war, war of a kind that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists estimates to be more dangerous than anything humanity has faced before. This is the war of perpetual nuclear tensions in an age where economic, environmental, and geopolitical stressors are making conflict ever more likely. In response to these conditions, the U.S. war machine has taken on a conscious mentality of unrestrained belligerence, as expressed in this part from the 2017 Pentagon document:
    The post-primacy reality demands a wider and more flexible military force that can generate ad­vantage and options across the broadest possible range of military demands. To U.S. political leadership, maintenance of military advantage preserves maximum freedom of action” Finally, it allows U.S. decision-makers the opportunity to dictate or hold significant sway over outcomes in international disputes in the shadow of significant U.S. military capability and the implied promise of unac­ceptable consequences in the event that capability is unleashed.
    This is the essence of why the time we’re living in is an insane one, of why we’ve reached 100 seconds to midnight: the system can only think to react to the emergence of destabilizing factors by creating even more potential for destabilization. Whether it’s engaging in provocations against rival powers in reaction to the loss of a unipolar world, or driving down the population’s living standards even further in reaction to an economic crash, or reacting to the climate crisis by further engaging in military buildup even though the U.S. military is the world’s largest polluter, the system’s only solution is to move us even further towards our doom while telling us that these decisions are nothing but rational. It’s madness that’s presented to us as the only sensible path forward.

    Comment by Sonya Garcia | January 30, 2021 | Reply

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