Asian Bishops' Appeal: "No to war and arms trade"

Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) - The Asian Bishops call for "an end to wars and hostilities in the different contexts of Asia", "greater institutional commitment to global peace", "the immediate stop to the trafficking of arms," which helps to steep the continent in blood. As reported to Fides by Fr. Nithiya Sagayam, Ofm Cap, Secretary of the Office for Human Development, within the Federation of the Asian Episcopal Conferences (FABC), the Bishops joined the initiative launched by the FABC Office during the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s Encyclical, "Pacem in Terris" and in view of "Disarmament Week", sponsored by the UN, while many nations are preparing to sign the Treaty on the Arms Trade, which seeks to limit and regulate the phenomenon. Numerous religious leaders of Asia, including two Cardinals, 20 Archbishops, 10 bishops, as well as another 5,000 representatives of different faiths have joined the appeal, which was sent to Fides Agency, since the text was subsequently extended to other religious communities. The appeal was delivered to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon. The document is addressed to world leaders asking them to "work for peace and harmony through disarmament" and "approving the Treaty on arms trade." "Every weapon that is produced is a theft from those who are hungry," he recalls. The arms trade, which has a global turnover of 1,000 billion dollars a year, is a major cause of severe and extensive human rights abuses. Some governments spend more on military expenditure than on social development, communication infrastructure and health care put together. The Bishops point out that the Arms Trade Treaty, which provides control and monitoring mechanisms, "will provide an important contribution to promoting a true culture of peace through responsible collaboration between the states." The arms trade fuels war, causes serious delays in the human development, produces instability and conflict, spreads a culture of violence and crime. The ultimate goal must be disarmament, to avoid violence, death and genocide. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 12/7/2012)