A letter the press did not print

A letter the press did not print

Dear Sir,

This week Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN, called for a global ceasefire in light of the coronavirus, saying: The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war. The threats we face as a planet, health pandemics and climate change among them, demand a coordinated international response with no room for continuing to waste resources on armed conflict.

We urge our government to robustly support this call by discontinuing the sale of arms during this crisis and calling on all involved in current conflicts around the world to lay down their arms.

We are encouraged by the prompt, creative response of British manufacturers to the urgent need for new ventilators and the London ExCel Centre which hosts the DSEI Arms Fair, being used instead for a socially productive purpose as the Nightingale Hospital.

This crisis is teaching the world much about the values of compassion and fairness, and the ability of societies to care for the most vulnerable as the basis of security. All our efforts now are rightly focused on preserving life and we have been heartened by the huge efforts made to this end, and by the strengthening of community bonds across the nation. The coming weeks will be painful for society. We will need time to grieve and to reflect. We hope that the bonds of common humanity, coupled with the compassion and imagination being deployed today can create a lasting legacy for future generations.

Sue Claydon, Chair, Anglican Pacifist Fellowship

John Cooper, Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation

Theresa Alessandro, Director, Pax Christi UK

Oliver Robertson, Head of Worship and Witness, Quaker Peace & Social Witness

Martin Tiller, Co-Chair, Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Andrew Jackson, Paul Maxwell-Rose, Co-Directors, Christian International Peace Service

Philip Austin, Coordinator, Northern Friends Peace Board

Andrew Fox, President, Community of Christ (British Isles)

Roger Stuart, acting Chair, Congregational Peace Fellowship

Lydia Funck, General Secretary, Church and Peace