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Abp Auza on catastrophic effect of weapons of mass destruction

(Vatican Radio) Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, Archbishop Bernardito Auza delivered a statement  to the UN Security Council Open Debate on Preventing catastrophe: A global agenda for stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors.

In the statement the Archbishop reiterated the  "Holy See’s  constant  and  firm  opposition  to  the production  and  use  of  weapons  of  mass  destruction."  He also noted that the Holy See "noted with "grave  concern  that  technological  advances  in  the  destructive power  of  weapons  systems  produces  ever  more  frightening  catastrophes  for  innocent civilian populations."

Below find Archbishop Auza's statement in English

The Holy See is grateful that the Presidency of Spain has brought the important subject of stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors to the deliberation of this Council and to the attention of the International Community. The involvement of non-State actors in wars and conflicts has been increasing lately and this has had horrendous effects on civilian populations, most especially women, children, the elderly and the disabled. Non-State actors use weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) with impunity and in total lawlessness, showing little or no regard for civilian immunity, for proportionality and for the discrimination between combatants and non-combatants.

Today the staggering numbers of refugees and forced migrants worldwide bears witnessto  the  devastation  wrought  by  WMDs,  along  with  frightfully  potent  conventional weapons.

Mr. President,

My  delegation  wishes  to  reiterate  the  Holy  See’s  constant  and  firm  opposition  to  the production  and  use  of  weapons  of  mass  destruction.  Any  act,  any  weapon  that  aims indiscriminately  to  destroy  entire  cities  or  extensive  areas,  together  with  their inhabitants, is against all international humanitarian law and all ideas of civilization, and merits unequivocal, unqualified and unhesitating condemnation.

The  Holy  See  notes  with  grave  concern  that  technological  advances  in  the  destructive power  of  weapons  systems  produces  ever  more  frightening  catastrophes  for  innocent civilian populations. Just a little more than a week ago, Pope Francis observed, “We say ‘Never again’ but at the same time we produce weapons and sell them to those who are at war with one another.”

This gifting and selling of arms takes place at different levels. Some States supply arms to client States even with the knowledge that they will be used to  perpetuate  mass  atrocities,  suppress  fundamental  human  rights  and  turn  back  the development of entire peoples and nations. Transactions are often carried out through international crime syndicates, which, as Pope Francis stated last week, is “an easy way to grow rich, but the price is very steep: blood.”

Fighting and defeating the illegal and criminal arms trade is fundamental to preventing non-State actors from possessing and using weapons of mass destruction, and thereby to preventing the atrocities they will use those arms to commit. Strengthening relevant laws and conventions at the multilateral, bilateral and national levels is a necessary step in the right direction.

Mr. President,

Business as usual with regard to policies concerning weapons of mass destruction, and all weapons  systems,  must  be  replaced  with  a  new  global  ethic.  Profit,  geopolitical advantages at any cost and the logic of fear and mistrust must be replaced by addressing the wider security, political, economic, and cultural dynamics that lead both State and non-State actors to seek security, legitimacy, and power in the production of weapons, rather  than  in  expending  their  resources  to  promote  socio-economic  development, diplomatic and political participation, respect for fundamental human rights and the ruleof law, and cooperation and solidarity at the regional and international level.

The Holy See has repeatedly called on weapons-producing nations severely to limit and control the manufacture and sale of weapons and ammunition to unstable countries and regions of the world where the likelihood of their illegal use or their falling into the hands of non-State actors is a real and present danger. The proliferation of weapons, regardless of  whether  they  are  weapons  of  mass  destruction  or  “merely  conventional,”  simply aggravates  situations  of  conflict  and  results  in  unimaginable  human  suffering  and material costs, profoundly undermining development and the search for lasting peace.

Non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament underpin global security, respect for human rights and sustainable development. Without them, the achievement of the much vaunted  2030  Agenda  for  Sustainable  Development  will  be  seriously  jeopardized. Without them, catastrophes that might have been prevented against persons and peoples will continue to occur. Without greater international and regional cooperation, especially among weapons-producing States, strictly to control and limit the movement of weapons of mass destruction, it is an illusion to talk of a global strategy to stop the proliferation ofsuch weapons by and among non-State actors.

Thank you, Mr. President.

16/12/2016