Statement by H.E. Archbishop Celestino
Permanent Observer of the Holy See to
the United Nations
Conference on Facilitating the Entry-into-Force of
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)
21 – 23 September 2005
New York, 22 September 2005
When the Conference on
Facilitating the Entry-into-Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
last met in 2003, 168 States had signed and 104 States had ratified the Treaty.
Today, as the Conference meets again, we note that 176 States have signed and
125 have ratified. It is clear that the Treaty is growing in impact. The
growth of the CTBT shows that the great majority of States wants to move towards
a nuclear weapons-free world.
The goal of the CTBT – to put an end forever to the
testing of nuclear weapons – should be the aim of every State. For nuclear
weapons are incompatible with the peace we seek for the 21st century.
Yet the movement to CTBT
entry-into-force is impeded by the lack of universality. The Holy See adds its
voice in appealing to the States whose ratification is necessary for the
entry-into-force of the Treaty. The achievement of universality in ending the
development of nuclear weapons would show a courageous leadership and a high
sense of political responsibility in advancing the culture of peace based upon
the primacy of law and respect for human life.
Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of the
opening of the CTBT for signatures. It is already past time for the
entry-into-force to take effect. In 2003, the Conference reaffirmed the
importance of entry-into-force to allow forward progress for systematic efforts
toward nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. However, the persisting
blockage impedes progress of the world community.
The failure of the recent
Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference shows the weaknesses in the
non-proliferation regime. All humanity must be concerned that nuclear weapons
are becoming a permanent feature of some military doctrines.
as an ongoing reality after the Cold War, becomes more and more untenable even
if it were in the name of collective security. Indeed, it is threatening the
existence of peoples in several parts of the world and it may end up being used
as a convenient pretext in building up nuclear capacity.
We must respond to these growing dangers by increasing
our resolve to build a body of international law to sustain a nuclear
weapons-free world. The CTBT, once in effect, would be a pillar of
international law. It would be an encouragement for subsequent measures, such
as the systematic destruction of all nuclear warheads and their delivery
vehicles, that would greatly strengthen the architecture for a new human
Already the work of the CTBT demonstrates how its
verification techniques, designed to detect nuclear explosions, show promise in
aiding tsunami warning systems. Humanity will greatly benefit from the full
operation of the verification techniques already established.
There is a great deal of work to
be done to build the conditions for an enduring peace in the world.
Courage and vision are required
to move forward. Although the century opened with a burst of global terrorism,
this threat must not be allowed to dilute the precepts of international
humanitarian law, which is founded on the key principles of limitation and
proportionality. The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver
than the evil to be eliminated.
Through courage and vision, we
can muster the strength to lift the international community out of the quagmire
of reliance on nuclear weapons for security. The CTBT is a tool for lifting up
Thank you, Mr. President.