WASHINGTON DC and TOKYO, April 25, 2014 /CNW/ - On April 24, 2014,
Buddhist association Soka Gakkai International (SGI) sponsored "Making
a Difference - Faith Communities and the Humanitarian Consequences of
Nuclear Weapons," a one-day interfaith symposium held at the US
Institute of Peace in Washington DC.
Over 100 participants from diverse faiths including Buddhist, Christian,
Jewish and Muslim traditions came together with peace activists and
experts to identify common concerns and refresh their determination to
rid the world of these inhuman weapons.
At the symposium, representatives of 11 different faith groups adopted a
joint statement pledging increased activism by religious communities
toward nuclear weapons abolition. This statement will be presented to
the chair of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) PrepCom taking
place at the UN Headquarters in New York from April 28 to May 9.
The statement reads, "The continued existence of nuclear weapons forces
humankind to live in the shadow of apocalyptic destruction.... The
moral insights of our traditions teach us that this threat is
unacceptable and must be eliminated." See http://www.sgi.org/assets/pdf/Joint-Faith-Statement-Antinukes.pdf
Hirotsugu Terasaki, director of peace affairs for SGI, welcomed
participants and commented, "This event is a significant follow-up to
the Nayarit Conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons
held in Mexico in February, and marks the first time this discussion
has come to the US. We want to help reenergize the voice of faith
communities and explore ways to raise public awareness of the inhumane
nature of nuclear weapons."
In his keynote address, Dr. Andrew Kanter, former director of Physicians
for Social Responsibility, warned that if we do not remove these
weapons from our world, it is inevitable they will eventually be used.
Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International, commented, "We
need to think again about what we mean by security and how we
experience security. As faith-based communities, we are in a position
to ask those kinds of questions."
The Obama administration was represented by Principal Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State for Nuclear and Strategic Policy Anita Friedt who
said she appreciated the symposium's unique perspective.
Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association,
welcomed US government participation and stressed the need to engage
the Permanent Five members of the UN Security Council in the discussion
on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in advance of the NPT
Cosponsors of the event included Abolition 2000, American Values
Network, Federation of American Scientists (FAS), Arms Control
Association (ACA), Global Zero, International Campaign to Abolish
Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Pax Christi International, Pax Christi-USA and
Women's Action for New Direction (WAND).
Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is a grassroots Buddhist association
with 12 million members around the world. Its activities to promote
peace, culture and education are part of the longstanding tradition of
SOURCE: Soka Gakkai International
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