Friends campaign for anti-nuclear treaty

'We hope the celebration will provide encouragement for all who wish to see the Treaty applied in Britain.'

Quaker Meetings in Hexham, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Brighton are planning to display banners to mark the historic deadline of 22 January when the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is ratified. Honduras became the fiftieth state to sign the treaty in October 2020, meaning that it now comes into force as international law. The UK government is still refusing to engage with the treaty. On 22 January, Quakers in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will hold a special online celebration to mark the occasion. Hannah Morrow, one of the organisers, said: ‘This Treaty is an amazing breakthrough but unfortunately it will only apply in those countries that have signed up to it. This is the majority of the world’s nations, but does not include those who already own or have access to nuclear weapons, including the United Kingdom. We hope the celebration will provide encouragement for all who wish to see the Treaty applied in Britain, ending the vast waste of money spent on preparations for nuclear war.’

According to Scottish Friend Janet Fenton, who is coordinating a Quaker response for the day, momentum is building. ‘I’m attempting to keep on top of it in general on [the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) website]’ Polmont Friends have also planned to campaign, with ideas including ‘writing a piece for the local paper and maybe holding an outdoor public Meeting for Worship’, they tweeted on 6 December.

Kate Arnot, from Polmont Meeting, told the Friend, ‘We wrote to the local council to ask if we could hold something, but we were told no because of the current Covid situation.’ Local Quaker Cath Dyer said that she and her husband plan to hold an ICAN banner in Falkirk centre on 22 January. ‘Scotland is an anti-nuclear country and, if we were independent, we probably would have signed up to the Treaty, so [the campaigning] is probably more needed in other parts of the country.’ 

There will also be a Thanksgiving Service to mark the day on 22 January, hosted by the Network of Christian Peace Organisations, of which Quaker Peace & Social Witness is a member.

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