Our colleague Japanese peace and disarmament organization Gensuikyo is kicking off a new nuclear weapons abolition petition campaign, which Peace Action has endorsed. This campaign aims to build on the terrific work we did around last year’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the UN in New York, where I was honored to help deliver some of the millions of petition signatures from around the world (well over six million from Japan alone!) to delegates on the floor of the UN General Assembly.
Here is a bit from Gensuikyo’s press release kicking off the campaign:
At present, when we will soon see the 66th Summer of the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world is rapidly changing in terms of nuclear weapons. With our actions in New York, or in many other cities around the world, the NPT Review Conference in May last year declared it as its goal “to achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”, and called on all states to make “special efforts” to establish a framework for it, focusing on the proposal of UN Secretary General Ban KI-moon for the start of negotiations on a convention banning nuclear weapons.
The outcome of the session of the UN General assembly towards the end of the last year also showed a change. Nearly all member states voted in support of a resolution that urges full implementation of all past agreements on nuclear disarmament. The resolution calling for the start of negotiations on a nuclear weapon convention, put forward by Malaysia and many others, enjoyed support from 133 countries, including China, India and Pakistan, which possess nuclear arsenals, and even North Korea.
Now that the voice calling for a ban on nuclear weapons represents the majority in international politics, and that the Secretary General of the United Nations is appealing that we should, with Hibakusha, “celebrate the end of nuclear weapons”, the peace movements around the world should rise up in action in solidarity to make next steps forward, and the initiative for it should be taken here in Japan the only A-bombed country, with the Hibakusha – this is what we have thought. Thus, we have planned a new signature campaign in support of the “Appeal for a total ban on nuclear weapons”, which we are now launching in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and here in Tokyo.
Having drafted the appeal, we have sent it to leaders and influential people in different fields both in Japan and around the world to seek their endorsement and comments. Their responses were wonderful.
Internationally, we have received supports and messages from, first of all, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his High Representative Sergio Duarte, Nobel laureates Jody Williams and Mairead Maguire, and international networks and national and grassroots peace groups, such as the International Peace Bureau, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and its International Campaign. The number of leading people overseas who have endorsed the “Appeal” has reached 170, representing 12 international networks and 118 peace organizations operating in 31 countries.