Vatican hosts high-level symposium against nuclear weapons

image: JS/ICN

image: JS/ICN

The Vatican is hosting a two-day high-level international symposium on a nuclear-weapons-free world this week, in the backdrop of an escalating face-off between the US and North Korea. Eleven Nobel peace laureates, top United Nations and NATO officials, leading experts, heads of major foundations and of civil society organizations, as well representatives of bishops conferences, Christian denominations and other faiths are attending the November 10-11 conference in the Vatican on, "Prospects for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament".

The symposium is the fruit of the efforts of Pope Francis against arms, particularly nuclear weapons. In announcing the conference on 30 October, Greg Burke, the Director of the Holy See Press Office said, "The Holy Father is working with determination to promote the conditions necessary for a world without nuclear arms."

The Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is organizing the conference, which will include a meeting with Pope Francis.

The text of the Vatican Secretariat of State press release announcing the symposium follows:

This Friday, 10 and Saturday November 11, 2017, at the New Synod Hall in the Vatican, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will hold an International Symposium: "Prospects for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament".

The Prefect, Cardinal Peter Turkson, pointed out that "the event responds to the priorities of Pope Francis to take action for world Peace and to use the resources of creation for a sustainable development and to improve the quality of life for all, individuals and countries, without discrimination". Mgr Bruno Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Dicastery, stressed at the International Atomic Energy Agency Conference, held in Vienna from 18 to 22 September 2017, the importance of the "moral responsibility of the States" and the challenge of a "common strategy of dialogue ", invoked by the Holy Father.

This Vatican Conference represents the first global gathering on Atomic Disarmament after the approval of the "Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons", signed by 122 Countries of the international community (including the Holy See), in New York on July 7, 2017, and opened to signature September 20th 2017, in the same City.

The International Conference will be attended by 11 Nobel Peace Laureates, UN and NATO Top Representatives, diplomats from the Russian Federation, United States, South Korea, Iran, as well as top experts on armaments and weapons and the heads of major foundations and of civil society organizations that for a long time have been actively engaged in this issue. Representatives of Episcopal Conferences, of Christian denominations and of other faiths, a delegation of Senior Professors and students from US and Russian universities, will attend this Vatican event.

Particularly significant will be the presence of Masako WADA, Assistant Secretary General of Nihon Hidankyo, one of the last survivors of the Hiroshima's nuclear attack, who will represent the victims of nuclear weapons and of nuclear experiments.

From the Holy See, the Secretary of State, His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the leadership of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will be participating.

Pope Francis will receive the participants at an audience that will take place in the Sala Clementina of the Apostolic Palace, on November 10 at 12noon and will give an official address.

The Conference benefits from the cooperation with: Embassy of Italy to the Holy See; Catholic Bishops' Conference of Germany; Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan; Centro Interdisciplinare Scienze per la Pace (CISP), Università di Pisa; Georgetown University; Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies of the Keough School of Global Affairs; Mazda Motor Europe GmbH; Notre Dame University; Nuclear Threat Initiative; Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs; Senzatomica; Soka Gakkai International; Unione degli Scienziati per il Disarmo ONLUS (USPID)

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