World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

20 February 2004

Statement by the WCC Executive Committee, Geneva, 17-20 February, 2004

The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches, meeting in Geneva
from 17-20 February, 2004,

Affirming yet again our belief that the only ultimate protection against nuclear
weapons is their total elimination;

Responding to the urgent public concern given to nuclear weapons and the risk
of proliferation of these weapons;

Reaffirming the persistent witness of the churches, that nuclear weapons cannot
bring security and that nuclear arsenals "deliver only insecurity and peril through
their promise to annihilate life itself and to ravage the global ecosystem" through
which God sustains all earthly life;

Recognizing the suffering of the many victims of nuclear testing, in particular
in the Pacific and the former Soviet Union;

Recalling the "Statement on Nuclear Disarmament" of the WCC Central Committee
(29 January-6 February, 2001) that the post-Cold War opportunity to make major
advances toward the elimination of nuclear weapons is being lost due to the failure
of states to honour their unambiguous obligations under the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the undertakings solemnly agreed to in the May
2000 NPT Review Conference; and

Noting that the forthcoming 2005 NPT Review Conference affords a new opportunity
to reinvigorate nuclear disarmament commitments and efforts;

The Executive Committee:

Reiterates its grave and ongoing concern that certain policies and practices of
nuclear weapon-states undermine international progress towards nuclear disarmament,
and draws attention to:

• Continuing efforts by the United States to develop new generations of
nuclear weapons;
• The abrogation by the United States of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty,
and US pursuit of strategic ballistic missile defence in spite of is destabilizing
impact on the international strategic environment;
• Assertion by the United States of nuclear use doctrines, including threats
to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states party to the NPT,
that undercut negative security assurances;
• The failure of China, India, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea and the United
States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;
• The revival of the uranium enrichment programme of North Korea;
• Russia's failure to undertake verifiable reductions of its non-strategic nuclear
• The dangerous practice in Russia and the United States of maintaining
strategic weapons on ongoing high alert status;
• The failure of the Russia-US Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty to require
the permanent dismantling of warheads removed from active deployment;
• China's measures to expand and upgrade its strategic nuclear arsenal;
• NATO's "nuclear sharing" policy which places nuclear weapons on the territories
of non-nuclear states party to the NPT;
• NATO's continuing assertion of that nuclear weapons are "essential" to its
security, and its pledge to retain them for the foreseeable future; and
• The continued retention of nuclear weapons by Israel, Pakistan and India
and the failure of the international community seriously to challenge these
violations of the international norm against nuclear weapons acquisition;

Welcomes the ongoing struggle of many governments and civil society groups
to advance nuclear disarmament and to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons,
and draws attention to:

• The decision of the Government of Libya to disavow the pursuit of nuclear
weapons ands to open its nuclear facilities to international inspection;
• The decision of the Government of Iran to accept the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) additional protocol and to open its facilities to more
intensive inspections;
• The continuing efforts, especially by China, Japan, Russia, South Korea
and the United States, to engage North Korea in pursuit of a full commitment
to permanently forego the pursuit of nuclear weapons and to recommit
to the NPT as a non-nuclear state party;
• The 2002 G8 pledge of US$ 20 billion in support of the Global Partnership
against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, with a
priority focus on securing Russia's nuclear materials; and
• The role of civil society organizations around the world in continuing to
undertake research and public advocacy in support of the urgent objective
of eliminating nuclear weapons;

Urges all States to make renewed and unprecedented efforts to ensure that the
current NPT Review Process, leading to the 2005 NPT Review Conference, reinvigorates
nuclear disarmament efforts, leads states to recommit to the principles
and goals of the NPT, and sets the world on a path towards the final elimination
of nuclear weapons through support for a series of bold measures, including:

• A halt to all nuclear weapons research and development;
• The early approval and ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
• Rejection of strategic Ballistic Missile Defence;
• Pledges by all nuclear weapon states, in a series of interim measures, to:
• never be the first to use nuclear weapons,
• fulfill their unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination
of their nuclear arsenals, to which all States Parties are committed under
Article VI of the NPT,
• never use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon
states party to the NPT;
• permanently remove their nuclear weapons from high-alert status;
• permanently remove all nuclear weapons from the territories of non-nuclear
weapon states;
• Steps by Russia and the United States to make all their nuclear disarmament
agreements irreversible through requirements to dismantle permanently
all weapons removed from active deployment;
• Early commitment to the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material
Cut-Off Treaty;
• Efforts by Global Partnership states to accelerate implementation of Partnership
objectives; and
• A recommitment to preventing the horizontal proliferation of nuclear
weapons and weapons technology by:
• providing the political and material support necessary to enable the IAEA
to carry out its responsibilities,
• continuing to press Iran and North Korea to abandon all uranium enrichment
and plutonium extraction efforts towards a fully verifiable return to
a status of non-nuclear states party to the NPT;
• Providing for the return of international inspectors to Iraq to verify its full
compliance with its obligation as a non-nuclear party to the NPT;
• Commitment by all States to uphold and strengthen the multilateral framework
for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation;

Encourages civil society organizations to:

• Continue to monitor nuclear weapons issues and developments;
• Continue to challenge states to redouble their nuclear disarmament efforts
in accord with the requirement of the NPT and, especially, in accord with
the requirements for human security;
• Urge the states responsible for carrying out nuclear tests, that adequate
compensation should be given to victims of these tests;

Calls on churches in the context of the Decade to Overcome Violence to renew
their witness for peace and disarmament through education, public awarenessbuilding
and advocacy to overcome the continuing threat of nuclear weapons; and
Asks the WCC to continue to:

• Monitor nuclear disarmament efforts generally;
• Encourage NATO governments to renounce their reliance on nuclear weapons;
• Explore ways of promoting attention to nuclear disarmament in Israel,
Pakistan and India.