[Francophones] Fwd: WCC FEATURE: African nuclear treaty is a step toward a safer world, with church support

Bishop bishop at tec-europe.org
Mer 9 Sep 19:32:02 GMT 2009

Confirmation du rôle de l'église dans la ratification du traité  
nucléaire pour l'Afrique, et en particulier Sa Grâce Bernard Nhatoturi.

Mgr Pierre Whalon

Début du message réexpédié :

> De : "Mark Barwick" <mark.barwick at paxchristi.net>
> Date : 9 septembre 2009 16:39:13 HAEC
> À : "bishop at tec-europe.org" <bishop at tec-europe.org>
> Objet : Réexp : WCC FEATURE: African nuclear treaty is a step toward  
> a safer world, with church support
> World Council of Churches - Feature
> Contact: + 41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363 media at wcc-coe.org
> For immediate release - 09/09/2009 14:19:19
> By Jonathan Frerichs (*)
> With recent action by Africa a majority of the world's countries  
> have now banned nuclear weapons from their national territory for  
> the first time. The change happened when an all-Africa treaty  
> entered into force in July. International civil society  
> organizations including the World Council of Churches (WCC) played a  
> catalytic role .
> Taking a shared approach to a safer world, Africa became a nuclear- 
> weapon-free zone when Burundi recently became the 28th state to  
> ratify the Treaty of Pelindaba. A WCC delegation visited the central  
> African country in March 2009 to encourage the step. The addition of  
> 54 countries in Africa means that 116 nations are now within treaty  
> zones banning nuclear weapons.
> The WCC Central Committee salutes Africa's new nuclear-free status  
> in a September 2009 statement and invites further church support for  
> such actions. The committee also urges Russia and the United States  
> "to join China, Britain and France in ratifying the treaty protocols  
> that give Africa added protection" from nuclear attacks.
> Burundi's role in this transnational success story is instructive.  
> In regions where governments avoid nuclear weapons, states large and  
> small can share responsibility for security. Where national nuclear  
> arsenals exist, however, in regions like Northeast Asia and the  
> Middle East, collective security is not an option.
> What is more, Burundi and other states like Malawi, Mozambique and  
> Ethiopia which have ratified the treaty recently acted at a time  
> when major powers are still struggling to break out of a decade of  
> deadlock in disarmament and non-proliferation, notwithstanding  
> positive signs in recent months.
> "We in Africa know the value of disarmament," Burundi's First Vice- 
> President Yves Sahinguvu told WCC delegates in March. Although  
> Burundi is not directly threatened by nuclear weapons, it is engaged  
> in a long recovery process after decades of armed conflict.
> "You are the church and you have come here to speak of peace,"  
> President of the National Assembly Pie Ntavyohanyuma told the WCC.  
> "We thank you all the more because churches here have done a lot for  
> peace," he added, acknowledging the work of Burundian Anglican  
> Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, a member of the three-person  
> delegation. Churches provide "ethical reference points" for positive  
> change, he said.
> "Countries like Burundi are making Africa more secure by putting  
> this treaty into effect, and churches support the treaty because it  
> helps to build peace," Archbishop Ntahoturi said of his government's  
> action.
> Top Burundi officials said the Pelindaba Treaty would help Africa  
> with security and governance. President of the Senate, Dr Gervais  
> Rufyikiri, a scientist who has researched radioactive pollution in  
> agriculture, said Burundi would benefit from better international  
> controls on nuclear materials used in medicine, agriculture and  
> energy production.
> Solutions need to work across national borders
> With foreign companies and governments increasingly looking to  
> Africa for its uranium, another key issue for Africa is stewardship  
> of resources. A WCC delegation visited uranium-rich Namibia late  
> last year to urge ratification of the Pelindaba Treaty there as well.
> "We want this God-given resource to be used only for peaceful  
> purposes," Namibian Prime Minister Nahas Angula told the WCC during  
> a follow-up meeting in April. "That is our dream, our wish and our  
> hope". Africa's new treaty, the most advanced of all the regional  
> treaties banning nuclear weapons, is a tool for realizing such hopes.
> Developed after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of  
> apartheid, the Treaty of Pelindaba is an example of the collective  
> capacity to work toward a world without nuclear weapons.
> First, Pelindaba is the place where the white-minority government of  
> South Africa developed the only nuclear arsenal in the southern  
> hemisphere, which the new black-majority government then abandoned.
> Second, many states in Africa bear the scars of Cold War conflicts  
> fueled by foreign rivalries and fought with imported weapons. The  
> treaty now in force bans the import, development, deployment,  
> testing and use, anywhere on the continent, of the most destructive  
> weapons in existence.
> Like managing climate change, effective control over nuclear weapons  
> requires solutions that work across national borders. "In  
> threatening life on our planet, [climate change and nuclear weapons]  
> pose a unique challenge to people of faith," says a 2008 report on  
> WCC work in this field. Meeting each of those threats will require a  
> more human-centered understanding of international security."
> The church initiative for the Pelindaba Treaty stems from a 2006 WCC  
> Assembly recommendation to support Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones. WCC  
> member churches have been united in their opposition to nuclear arms  
> for more than 60 years.
> The Geneva-based WCC cooperates with international disarmament  
> organizations there and abroad including, in this case, the Africa  
> Peace Forum, the Institute for Strategic Studies in South Africa and  
> the Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament.
> "Other regions have done the same thing as Africa. We look forward  
> to the day when Europe, Asia and North America are freed from  
> nuclear weapons too," Archbishop Ntahoturi said.
> Africa is now linked with other nuclear-weapon-free zones in Latin  
> America, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and Central Asia, and  
> with the nuclear-weapon-free state of Mongolia. The first zone was  
> established in Latin America in the 1960s in response to the Cuban  
> missile crisis.
> Today's zones cover the southern hemisphere and adjacent areas up to  
> the southern border of the United States, the southern shores of the  
> Mediterranean, the six countries located between Russia and China,  
> and along China's southeastern border. Treaties also protect  
> Antarctica, the entire seabed and outer space from the placement of  
> nuclear weapons.
> [894 words]
> (*) Jonathan Frerichs , WCC programme executive for nuclear  
> disarmament and the Middle East, is a member of the Evangelical  
> Lutheran Church in America.
> Full text of the "Statement of hope in a year of opportunity:  
> seeking a nuclear weapon free world":
> http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=7161
> Churches engaged for nuclear arms control:
> http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=3255
> WCC Assembly minute on the elimination of nuclear arms:
> http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=1956
> International Ecumenical Peace Convocation:
> http://overcomingviolence.org/iepc
> Opinions expressed in WCC Features do not necessarily reflect WCC  
> policy. This material may be reprinted freely, providing credit is  
> given to the author.
> Additional information: Juan Michel,+41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363 media at wcc-coe.org
> The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith,  
> witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical  
> fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings  
> together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches  
> representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries,  
> and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC  
> general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from the Methodist Church  
> in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
> You received this message as a subscriber to WCC online services. To  
> unsubscribe or change your settings, click here.

Bishop (Mgr) Pierre Whalon
Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe
23, avenue George V
75008 Paris France
+33 1 53 23 84 06  (tel)
+33 1 49 52 96 85 (fax)
office at tec-europe.org

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