Project Ploughshares

Project Ploughshares is an ecumenical agency of the Canadian Council of Churches established in 1976 to implement the churches’ call to be peacemakers and to work for a world in which justice will flourish and peace abound. The mandate given to Project Ploughshares is to work with churches and related organizations, as well as governments and non-governmental organizations, in Canada and abroad, to identify, develop, and advance approaches that build peace and prevent war, and promote the peaceful resolution of political conflict … (full text Homepage).

What we do; Abolish; Control; Reduce; Build; Support; Library; E-newsletter;
Address: Project Ploughshares, 57 Erb Street West, Waterloo ON N2L 6C2, UK;

Who we are: A Commitment to Building Peace and Preventing War.

At the founding of Project Ploughshares in 1976 of particular concern to the founders was the massive scale of arms transfers to the developing world. Those arms shipments fuelled the wars of the day and supported undemocratic, repressive regimes, with devastating consequences for the ordinary people of the recipient states. Unfortunately the impact of the arms shipped in the 1960s and 1970s was not confined to those decades. Those same arms did not disappear, but continue to circulate and are today actively engaged in local wars, in committing human rights violations, and in propping up repressive regimes. The destructive seeds that were sown then continue to bear their destructive fruit.

At the other end of the scale of destruction, the nuclear weapons that were being built and deployed in the last half of the 20th century also did not disappear. Fortunately some of them have now been withdrawn from active deployment, but they still leave a legacy of actual and potential destruction. The potential destruction is clear, and the very real damage that they have already inflicted includes the environmental consequences of decades of nuclear production, and the extraordinary economic costs of that production and of dismantling all those nuclear weapons and rendering the recovered materials unusable in building new weapons. And the political costs and energy required to maintain the struggle to eliminate all nuclear arsenals detract from other urgent priorities and impose on this and future generations an additional immense and destructive burden.

At the beginning of a new century it is especially sobering to contemplate the extent to which the absence of safety and the presence of peril continue to define our world, and to shape the work of Project Ploughshares in the world. Families displaced by war in Southern Sudan, the 12-year-old herd boy in northern Kenya who can tend the community’s cattle only with the aid of an AK-47 rifle, the NGO democracy advocate in Liberaia who lands in hospital following a beating by thugs bent on ending the small arms collection program, children growing up to discover that the threat of annihilation by nuclear war is not only a reality but a deliberate policy devised by adults in the declared interests of security – these are all people and situations that directly touch our lives and consciousness and keep us committed to the pursuit of new, safer, and more hopeful futures in the century before us.

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