Bishop of Coventry Christopher Cocksworth is keen to publicly express his support for the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which comes into force on Friday 22 January 2021.
In November Bishop Cocksworth co-led a group of Bishops and Archbishops from the Church of England in publishing a letter in The Observer calling on the UK Government to sign the Treaty. The letter is included below. On Thursday 21 January in the House of Lords the Bishop will be asking the government to engage constructively with the Treaty and to attend the first meeting of the states party to the Treaty as an observer.
The UK government’s position appears not to have changed since it issued a statement when the Treaty was published in July 2017. Their position is that this treaty fails to address the key issues that must first be overcome to achieve lasting global nuclear disarmament.
Text of the letter to the Observer: Britain must sign treaty
As bishops of the Church of England, we warmly welcome and applaud the recent ratification, by the required number of member states, of the United Nations’ treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons and we rejoice that the treaty will therefore come into force on 22 January 2021.
For so many of the nations of the world to speak clearly of the need to ban these weapons of mass destruction is an encouraging and hopeful sign. We commit ourselves to pray and to work so that this ratification will indeed help to see an end to nuclear weapons in the future. We very much regret that the UK, together with other nuclear states, has not yet signed the accord. We call on the UK government to do so and thereby to give hope to all people of goodwill who seek a peaceful future.
We echo the UN secretary general who “commends the states that have ratified the treaty and salutes the work of civil society, which has been instrumental in f acilitating the negotiation and ratification of the treaty”. Accordingly, we renew our support for the work of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, together with sister organisations and agencies in each nation, whose advocacy and commitment continues to make such a difference.