Bishops in the US and Europe have called for a complete denuclearisation in the world amid heightened tensions following North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile test conducted on 4 July - the US Independence Day.
"Even a limited nuclear exchange would have devastating consequences for people and the planet. Tragically, human error or miscalculation could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe," the Bishops said in a joint declaration, titled "Nuclear Disarmament: Seeking Human Security", on Thursday (6 July).
The statement warned that the "horror of a potential nuclear war" had calmed down following the end of the Cold War, but "recent geopolitical developments" have reignited the fears. The Bishops also said that spending resources on building nuclear weapons was a wastage of money, rather countries should utilise the budgets on sustainable development projects.
"Our world has become increasingly multipolar with a variety of threats reaching from terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, cybersecurity to environmental degradation and poverty, which raises doubts about the adequacy of nuclear deterrence as an effective response to these challenges," they said.
Mentioning the United Nations conference focused on negotiating "a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination", which is due to conclude on Friday (7 July), the Bishops said that all the nations in the world should work towards achieving this goal.
The US and most European nations reportedly did not participate in the conference. The Bishops urged those non-participating nations to rethink their security policies. "We call upon the United States and European nations to work with other nations to map out a credible, verifiable and enforceable strategy for the total elimination of nuclear weapons," the statement read.
The Bishops also listed out a few measures that the nations could take to achieve total elimination of nuclear weapons, including deepening mutual trust between nations, reducing reliance on nuclear deterrence in national and international security strategies, engaging in global debate to create and promote conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.