Interfaith support for the ban

Faith communities have always been at the forefront of peace-making, and were among the first to condemn the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. ICAN works with many global faith organisations including the World Council of Churches, Soka Gakkai International and Religions for Peace. We are proud to work with many religious groups to raise awareness of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and build our movement for peace.

In Australia, our partner organisations include the Uniting Church in Australia, Catholic Religious Australia, the Edmund Rice Centre and Quakers Australia. Upon the entry into force of the Treaty in January 2021, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Commission for Social Justice urged the Prime Minister to sign and ratify.

In 2017, faith-based groups across Australia united to call on the Australian Government to participate in the UN negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. It was the first time Australia boycotted negotiations on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The 2017 Interfaith Appeal was endorsed by 52 organisations. Read it here →

In 2020, the religious community again joined forces for the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima for an interfaith open letter and  service. Their clear demand is that Australia move beyond a security doctrine based on nuclear violence, to instead take the path of international law by joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

To: the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition

We, the undersigned leaders of religious organisations and faith groups, express our grave concern with the persistent global threat posed by nuclear weapons.

In each of our faith communities, we believe we are called to pursue peace and to love and care for all humanity and all creation. Collectively, our faith leads us to reject weapons designed to cause mass death and destruction and instil terror and fear. It is this faith that compels us to act for the eradication of weapons of mass destruction.

Seventy-five years on from the horrific atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the whole earth remains under the threat of nuclear weapons. Well-intentioned efforts over the decades have failed to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons or to achieve total nuclear disarmament.

We believe nuclear weapons are illegitimate, inhumane and indiscriminate. They have the power to extinguish in minutes everyone and everything that humankind holds dear.

We continue to witness massive investment in existing and new nuclear weaponry and are deeply concerned that nine heads-of-state hold such power over the global community. Nuclear arms control agreements are expiring, languishing or collapsing.

We are heartened by the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Negotiated by a majority of nations, the new treaty champions collective security beyond nuclear weapons. It sets the new highest standard for nations seeking nuclear abolition, to ensure these weapons are never used again.  It is a treaty that cannot be bent to suit the wishes of the nuclear-armed. Australia claims to support nuclear disarmament yet, to our deep disappointment, our nation remains outside the TPNW.

As people of faith across Australia we join together in one voice to urge the Australian Government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Our future depends on the successful implementation of this treaty.

Signed by 64 organisations as at 10 August 2020:

The Most Reverend Geoffrey Smith, Archibishop of Adelaide and Primate
Anglican Church of Australia

Australasian Muslim Times

Peter Johnstone, Chair
Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform

Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD STL, Chairperson
Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Right Reverend Professor Stephen Pickard, Executive Director
Australia Centre for Christianity and Culture, Charles Sturt University

Australian Jewish Democratic Society

Australian Raelian Movement

John Buggy, Spokesperson
Australian Reforming Catholics

Australian Student Christian Movement

Ballarat Interfaith Network

Believing Women for a Culture of Peace

Brigidine Sisters Kildara Centre

Buddhist Council of NSW

Judith McKinlay and Jared Mitchell, Co-Chairs
Canberra Region Presbytery, Uniting Church in Australia

Carmelite Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation Commission for Australia & Timor-Leste

Fr. Peter Smith, Justice and Peace Promoter
Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

Br Peter Carroll FMS, President, and Anne Walker, National Executive Director
Catholic Religious Australia

Peter Wilkinson, President
Catholics for Renewal

Christians for Peace Newcastle

Rev Dr Patrick McInerney, Director
Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations

Creators of Peace

Dr Patricia Madigan OP, Executive Director
Dominican Centre for Interfaith Ministry, Education and Research (CIMER)

Edmund Rice Centre

Rev Dr Gordon Preece, Chair
Ethos: Centre for Christianity & Society

Fairfield Uniting Church

Michael Wells, PSM, President
Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils

Hashomer Hatzair Australia

Rev Shigenobu Watanabe
Hongwanji Buddhist Mission of Australia

Inner West Chavurah

Mohamed Mohideen, President
Islamic Council of Victoria

Jewish Labour Bund

Jewish Voices for Peace and Justice NSW

Jewish Voices for Power

Justice and Peace Committee, Tasmanian Quakers 

Rev Dr Gordon Preece, Chair
Melbourne Anglican Diocese Social Responsibilities Committee

Melbourne Unitarian Peace Memorial Church

Father Claude Mostowik msc, Director
Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre (Australian Province)

Stancea Vichie, Congregational Leader
Missionary Sisters of Service

Philippa Rowland, President
Multifaith Association of South Australia

Muslim Charitable Foundation

Muslim Women’s Association of South Australia

Bishop Phillip Huggins, President
National Council of Churches in Australia

NSW Ecumenical Council

Office of Justice and Peace
Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

Rev James Bhagwan, General Secretary
Pacific Conference of Churches

Rev Dr Manas Ghosh, Minister
Parramatta Mission

Father Claude Mostowik msc, President
Pax Christi Australia

Dr Carolyn Tan, Chair
Public Affairs Commission of the Anglican Church of Australia

Queensland Faith Communities Council

Judith Pembleton and Frances Long
Queensland Regional Meeting, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Religions for Peace

Ann Zubrick, Presiding Clerk
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) South Australia and Northern Territory

Shepparton Interfaith Network

Jatinder Singh
Sikh Youth Australia

Sr Monica Cavanagh, Congregational Leader
Sisters of St Joseph

Chris Steains, General Director
Soka Gakkai International Australia

Temple Society Australia Regional Council

Dr Deidre Palmer, President
Uniting Church in Australia Assembly

Rev Dr Gordon Preece, Honorary Director
University of Divinity, Religion and Social Policy Network

Swami Sunishthananda, Vice President
Vedanta Centre of Melbourne

Victorian Quakers

Alexander Scutt, Leader
Wellspring Community Australia

Whittlesea Interfaith Network

To join the online list of signatories to the 2020 Interfaith Open Letter in support of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, email australia@icanw.org.