Vatican Official Tells International Atomic Energy Agency Risk is Growing
The Holy See on Monday said the risk of nuclear weapons being used is growing throughout the world due to three factors: the first, proliferation of such weapons; second, the vulnerability of nuclear command and control networks to cyber-attacks or human error; third, the possibility of nuclear weapons being accessed by non-state actors, terrorist groups in particular.
The Under-Secretary for Relations with States, Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, was addressing the 58th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.
“Speaking of lasting peace as a common good that the entire human family can only benefit from, we wish to reiterate that the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons is paramount for all humankind,” he said. “Yet the attaining of this objective cannot be the final word with regard to peace: special emphasis must be given to worldwide nuclear disarmament. This must be a goal for all states, especially for those who possess nuclear weapons or who want to develop or acquire them.”
Below is an excerpt from Msgr. Camilleri’s intervention to the IAEA:
The Holy See commends and supports all the activities of the IAEA which contribute to authentic human development and foster peace and prosperity throughout the world. Nuclear technology can be applied to many areas of the development of the human person. The use of nuclear and radiation techniques by the IAEA, as shown in its projects of technical cooperation, is particularly praiseworthy. Such techniques are aimed at continually improving conditions of life for great numbers of people, especially in the developing countries, while also offering the education needed to form professionals. The contribution of the IAEA to human development is evidenced, among other things, in the areas of agriculture, food safety, quality of nutrition, the fight against devastating pests, the management of scarce water resources, the efforts to monitor environmental pollution and the research undertaken to minimize such pollution. Undoubtedly the greatest contribution of the IAEA to the development of the human person has been the successes witnessed in the field of health care, and the Agency continues to attach special importance to this assistance. For instance, the application of radiation techniques — from the use of X-rays to the utilization of technically highly advanced particle accelerators — has revolutionized the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases; the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) provides vital equipment for radiation therapy in a number of developing countries in the fight against cancer; and essential dosimetry services help improve the safe application of ionizing radiation and bring advanced training to medical doctors, physicists and dosimetrists. In recognizing all these significant achievements of the Agency, the Holy See believes that an improved public awareness and recognition of such contributions would come about through a greater use of the modern means of communication and a deeper cooperation with civic and political authorities.
We believe that the activities I have mentioned are compatible with Pope Francis’ call for fraternity which he articulated in his 2014 Message for the World Day of Peace. There he expounded upon this important means to achieve peace. He wrote: “Fraternity is an essential human quality, for we are relational beings. A lively awareness of our relatedness helps us to look upon and to treat each person as a true sister or brother; without fraternity it is impossible to build a just society and a solid and lasting peace… In this sense, effective policies are needed to promote the principle of fraternity, securing for people — who are equal in dignity and in fundamental rights — access to capital, services, educational resources, healthcare and technology so that every person has the opportunity to express and realize his or her life project and can develop fully as a person” (1; 5).