Towards “global zero”: the role of the Holy See in the campaign on nuclear disarmament
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On 7 July 2017 at the UN headquarters in New York the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted, the first multilateral legally-binding instrument for nuclear disarmament negotiated in the last twenty years. The very signing of the Treaty must be seen as an extraordinary achievement because it represents a historic step in the seven decades long debate on nuclear weapons. One of the most significant achievements of the decade-long campaign is the engagement of civil society and non-state actors to such a degree that it was recognized through the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).The crucial supporter of the campaign and a powerful moral voice in the discussion has been that of Pope Francis and the Holy See’s representatives. While the Holy See’s engagement in the problem of disarmament has been an essential element of Catholic Social Teaching for many decades, never before has a pope condemned the possession of nuclear weapons so clearly and so firmly.This article aims to present the teaching and involvement of the Holy See in the process of introducing and developing a concept of nuclear disarmament in which civil society and non-state opponents of the nuclear weapons stand against the most powerful states of the contemporary world.
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