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International affairs, peace
and human security

  • UN liaison office in New York

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  • History
  • 2004 WCC UN Advocacy Week
  • 2003 WCC UN Advocacy Week

  • WCC United Nations liaison office
    Work on disarmament

    The global security environment has become increasingly complex and uncertain in recent years. New threats, including international terrorism, have exposed shortcomings in the disarmament and arms control architecture inherited from the Cold War. The main challenges come from states that choose to remain outside the international treaties, from states that are not keeping the commitments they have entered into, and from non-state actors and terrorists.

    The disarmament process is presently moving at a slow pace, while recurring requests are made by governments and NGOs to go forward in implementing the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The unsettled international security environment has increased the need for more concerted disarmament efforts at the same time as it makes them harder to achieve.

    (Left) Landmines warning poster, Angola (2002); (Above) Demobilization programme in Sierra Leone (2001); (Below) NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace & Security banner

    SEE ALSO: WCC/International Affairs work on disarmament

    From the outset, the WCC has sought to avoid war, minister to its victims, and rebuild towns and villages destroyed by war. These first-hand experiences of war and the fact that religion has often been invoked to endorse various war efforts have shaped the WCC's attitude to the use of force and violence.

    Churches have the ability to inform, mobilize and guide their communities, offering a unique and holistic contribution to the international disarmament discourse. Moreover, churches have an important role to play in tying in theological insights and moral and ethical perspectives with the social and political pursuit of small arms control.

    WCC actions to date
    From the very beginning, the WCC has been committed to working for a world free of nuclear weapons and other arms of mass destruction, as well as for the reduction of small arms and light weapons.
    It has actively worked to eliminate militarism, i.e. the rule of societies by military institutions, and has paid particular attention to the uncontrolled trade in both heavy and light weapons to areas of real or potential conflict, seeking to establish effective international controls over the arms trade.

    This has included active participation in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, efforts to create an effective register of arms transfers, and in general to promote the conversion of the arms industry to more socially beneficial forms of production. WCC is a founding member of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), a global network of over 200 member organizations seeking to address the proliferation of small arms in a holistic way.

    Regarding nuclear weapons, the WCC has adopted a strong and clear policy that among other things seeks to rejuvenate the demands for the elimination of nuclear weapons. In this context, the WCC strives to ensure that the forthcoming 2005 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference will strengthen nuclear disarmament commitments and efforts.

    WCC UN Liaison Office aims

    • encourage NATO governments to renounce their reliance on nuclear weapons
    • urge states to implement the 13 Steps toward complete disarmament and fulfil their obligations under the NPT
    • promote the adoption of non-military approaches to peace and security
    • encourage and support initiatives aiming at overcoming violence

    Work methods

    • carry out analysis and reflection for understanding and policy development on disarmament
    • monitor nuclear and microdisarmament efforts in general
    • encourage and support initiatives aiming at overcoming violence
    • engage in networking and advocacy to influence policy in a UN context

    Small Arms and Light Weapons Working Group of the Steering Committee on Humanitarian Response (SCHR)

    APRODEV Working Group on Small Arms,
    NGO Committee on Disarmament








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