Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Conference Against A and H Bombs Statement

Three years ago I was fortunate enough to travel to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan to represent Guam at the World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. This meeting is held annually at either of the two cities where atomic bombs fell during World War II. The meetings are attended by thousands of peace and anti-nuclear activists across Japan and across the world. Here is the statement below from this year's conference, held last week. 

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Declaration of the International Meeting       
        Sixty-eight years have passed since Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered the atomic bombings.  The bombs instantly devastated the two cities and took lives of over 200,000 citizens by the end of 1945.  They created a “hell on earth,” which denied humans either to live or die as humans.  The Hibakusha, who survived the days have continued to suffer from wounds in both mind and body.  The tragedy like this should never be repeated anywhere in the world.

        Nuclear weapons are the worst weapons of mass destruction, the use of which is a serious crime against humanity.  They have to be banned without any further delay.

        There are still nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world. One nuclear bomb, if used, could cause disastrous tragedy.  Even a small portion of them would cause a large scale climate change, which could lead to famine around the world.  Total ban and the elimination of nuclear weapons is an urgent task for the whole of humanity.

        Along with the survivors and on behalf of those who died and cannot speak for themselves, we, participants in the International Meeting of the 2013 World Conference against A and H Bombs appeal to all governments to take actions now to achieve a “world without nuclear weapons.”

        The demand for a world without nuclear weapons represents an unshakable international development.  The General Assembly of the United Nations every year adopts resolutions calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons.  The 2010 NPT Review Conference resolved by consensus, with all nuclear weapon states included, to achieve a “world without nuclear weapons” , and affirmed that all States need to make “special efforts” to establish a “framework” to achieve it.

        However, primarily due to the intransigence of nuclear powers, no tangible progress has been made.  We call on the international community to overcome all stagnations and resistance.

        On the governmental level, a movement to seek to outlaw nuclear weapons by focusing on their atrocious, inhuman nature is rapidly gathering momentum.  Such is the approach which our movement has adopted and pursued with the Hibakusha since its outset.  The resolution calling for the start of negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention, in line with the decision by the ICJ, which the peace movement of the world demands, now commands support of 135 governments, representing over 70% of all U.N. member States.

        By continuing these developments, a nuclear weapon-free world can be created.  The key lies in the hands of the peace movement and public support across the world.

        We call on all governments, and those of the nuclear weapon states in particular, to begin to implement the agreement for “achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” by starting negotiations on the Nuclear Weapons Convention as the framework of it.

        Towards 2015, which will mark the 70th anniversary of the A-bomb suffering of the two cities and in which the next NPT Review Conference will examine how the 2010 agreement has been implemented, let us develop our campaign in each of our countries and bring strong voices of the citizens of the world to New York, to generate a huge ground swell demanding the total abolition of nuclear weapons.

        The policy of “nuclear deterrence”, aimed to threaten adversaries with nuclear weapons, contravenes the basic principle of the U.N. Charter, which stands for the solution of international conflicts by peaceful and diplomatic means as opposed to the use of force.  It also serves as incentive for nuclear proliferation.  A world without nuclear weapons is incompatible with the nuclear deterrence doctrine, which should be overcome immediately.
        We call for the problem of North Korea’s nuclear weapons to be solved peacefully on the basis of international agreements reached particularly by the Six-party talks.  An international conference to establish a WMD-free zone in the Middle East should be convened as agreed by the previous NPT Review Conferences. Steps forward toward a total ban on nuclear weapons would provide new favorable conditions for the solution of these specific problems.

        International conflicts can only be resolved by diplomatic and peaceful means.  Threat or use of force would create a vicious cycle of heightened tension and aggravated situation.  We note the frameworks of and efforts for peace, which are developing in the Southeast Asia, Latin America and other places.  Opposing arms build-up and reinforcement of military alliances, we make a strong call for no-use of force and peaceful settlement of conflicts.

        In achieving a nuclear weapon-free world, the A-bombed country Japan, which can denounce the cruelty of nuclear weapons through its own experiences, should play a significant role.  However, the government of Japan continues to abstain from voting for the U.N. resolutions calling for the start of negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention or calling for prohibition on the use of nuclear weapons, and for other resolutions leading to the abolition of nuclear weapons, including one for nuclear disarmament tabled by the Non-Aligned movement.  Japan’s refusal to join the statement (supported by 80 countries) warning of the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and calling for their elimination drew deep disappointment and criticism.

        The Japanese peace movement calls on the government to play the role befitting the A-bombed country and demands strict observance of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles and breaking away from the U.S. “nuclear umbrella.” Noting its important role, we extend solidarity with the movement for a nuclear weapon-free and peaceful Japan.  We support the Hibakusha in their efforts to achieve relief measures based on State compensation and fundamental reform in the A-bomb disease recognition system.

        Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, upholding the renunciation of war and non-possession of war potentials, embodies a strong commitment of the Japanese people to reject war and recurrence of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We express our support to the people of Japan in their endeavors to defend and make the most of the Constitution, to reduce and remove U.S. military bases from Okinawa and elsewhere, and to resist the consolidation of Japan-U.S. military alliance.

        The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is still in the midst of the crisis.  Bringing the situation under control, decommissioning of all nuclear reactors and a fundamental shift to renewable energy resources are keenly called for.  Having noted the dangerous relations between nuclear weapons and nuclear power generation, we call for ending all kind of nuclear damage caused by nuclear fuel cycles, and oppose reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and accumulation of plutonium, as well as military use of nuclear energy.

We call on the peoples of the world to join in the following actions:

- Towards 2015, let us urge the nuclear weapon states and all other governments to implement their agreement to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.  In every country, we must inform wider public of the atrocity and inhumanity of nuclear weapons and strengthen the public opinion in support of the abolition of nuclear weapons.  Organizing “A-bomb damage exhibitions” and Hibakusha testimonies, let us inform the public of the consequences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Let us promote international signature campaign in support of the “Appeal for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons” and other activities to urge the start of negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention.  Let us organize many varieties of actions which everyone at grassroots can take part in, such as peace marches, by making use of social media and other means.  And let us deepen cooperation with the U.N. and other international organizations, national governments and local authorities that stand for nuclear disarmament, including Mayors for Peace.

- Strengthening relief and solidarity with the Hibakusha, let us extend our support and solidarity to all nuclear victims. We will support the victims of Agent Orange, depleted uranium and all other remnants of war.

- United in one wish for “no more nuclear victims,” we will develop our campaign together with the movement to break free of nuclear power.  We work together with broadest range of people demanding reduction of military spending, better life and employment, welfare, freedom and democracy, defending human rights, protecting global environment and overcoming gender-based discrimination and social injustice.  Let us create a far-reaching unity and solidarity for a “nuclear weapon-free, peaceful and just world.”

        Together with younger generation, once again, let us listen to the Hibakusha and turn our eyes to the “hell” created by nuclear weapons. Moving the hearts of tens of millions of people, we shall build up powerful public pressure to open the door to a nuclear weapon-free world.

No more Hiroshimas!  No more Nagasakis!  No more Hibakusha!

August 5, 2013
International Meeting, 2013 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs
 
 
 

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