By Vatican News staff reporter
“Advancing integral disarmament in times of pandemic” is the title of a series of online events that aim to reflect on the need to stop weapons production and proliferation in support of Pope Francis’ and the United Nations’ call for a global ceasefire.
The initiative is organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Vatican Covid-19 Commission, in collaboration with the Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation (SCRAP) of the SOAS University of London.
The first in the series of three online events will take place on 23 March. The webinars foresee the participation of religious representatives and researchers who will reflect on the efforts to promote a global ceasefire by stopping weapons production and proliferation. As explained in a statement released by organizers, the initiative aims to “offer the international community and religious leaders concrete options to follow the path of integral disarmament, in response to the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti.”
Pope Francis’ support for a global ceasefire
Pope Francis has repeatedly lent his support to appeals for a global ceasefire in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. During an Angelus address in July 2020, he said, “The call for a global and immediate ceasefire is commendable, which would allow the peace and security essential to provide the humanitarian assistance so urgently needed.”
These remarks came after the UN Secretary-General proposed a global ceasefire, and members of the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution demanding “a general and immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations on its agenda”. The resolution, adopted on 1 July 2020, calls on parties to armed conflicts to engage immediately in a “durable humanitarian pause” to provide aid to countries to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first session of the webinar features interventions by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and by the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson, as well as by experts in international studies and diplomacy.
Analyzing international law and concrete methods to pursue disarmament, the second session will see members of the disarmament community share their expertise, joined by Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the UN in Geneva.
Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue
The third session will highlight the vital role ecumenical and interreligious dialogue can play in pursuit of disarmament. It will see the participation of Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Cardinal Miguel Ayuso Guixot, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, along with representatives of Christian denominations and other religions.
Other Vatican Councils and international faith-based organizations will take part in the webinar, which will be conducted entirely in English and live-streamed through the YouTube channel of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development “Vatican IHD”: www.youtube.com/VaticanIHD.