Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Meeting Marks 70th Anniversary of World's First Atomic Crimes
May 1, 2015
ICAN & Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui and Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue / Mayors for Peace
On April 27, 190 governments began gathering in New York City for the start of the 2015 NPT Review Conference. This four-week international conference is one of the major governmental meetings on nuclear weapons this year, and a big chance to demand that the call to ban nuclear weapons be heard. The NPT requires its members to "pursue negotiations in good faith" on nuclear disarmament. It is time for the NPT's signatories -- including the US -- to initiate disarmament negotiations.
Special to Environmentalists Against War
70th Anniversary of the
Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
ICAN & Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui and Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue / International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)
NEW YORK & FRANCE (April 29, 2015) -- 190 governments are gathering today for the start of the 2015 NPT Review Conference. This is one of the major governmental meetings on nuclear weapons this year, and a big chance for our call to ban nuclear weapons to be heard.
Today and tomorrow, foreign ministers from all over the world will speak at the opening session of the NPT. We need your help to call on governments to launch a process to ban nuclear weapons.
While every state will be important for the success of this process, big or small, there are a few humanitarian disarmament champions that could lead a process for a ban on nuclear weapons.
Pick a Foreign Minister (or all of them) and send a tweet to encourage them to start negotiations of a treaty banning nuclear weapons by the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A t the Vienna conference, the Austrian foreign minister pledged to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.
At the conclusion of the Nayarit conference on the humanitarian impact, the Mexican Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs called for negotiations of a treaty banning nuclear weapons to start by the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Today, we want the Foreign Minister to remember that!
As the NPT starts, well over 70 states have supported this pledge. It is time for Austria to gather the supportive states and figure out how to fill the gap.
Rumors have had it that South Africa is considering to host a conference. While nothing has been confirmed, we hope that South Africa will lead the humanitarian initiative into the next phase.
Tell South Africa that we are waiting for them to take the lead on a process to ban nuclear weapons.
ICAN will be in New York throughout the Review Conference, campaigning for the launch of negotiations of a treaty banning nuclear weapons. You can read more about what’s at stake here. But don’t forget to follow us on social media to get instant updates on the developments in New York.
2015 International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, All rights reserved.
A Tale of Two Atomic Cities
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui and Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue / Mayors for Peace
HIROSHIMA/NAGASAKI (April 21, 2015) -- On April 27, representatives of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's 190 member countries will meet in New York for a four-week review of the 45-year-old pact.
The attendees would be wise to consider an important fact: Although the NPT requires its members to "pursue negotiations in good faith" on nuclear disarmament, a wide legal gap still remains when it comes to eliminating nuclear weapons. It is time for the NPT's signatories to initiate disarmament negotiations.
This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on August 6 and 9, when citizens everywhere will have an opportunity to pay their respects to the hundreds of thousands of people who were killed or wounded on those tragic days. This is also an occasion to honor the survivors, by supporting their call to eliminate all nuclear weapons, thereby ensuring that no one will ever suffer as they have.
We, the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are but two voices among representatives from more than 6,600 cities in 160 countries and regions worldwide who support this historic goal.
Our organization, Mayors for Peace, was created in 1982 as a way to transcend national borders and work together toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. More mayors are joining our cause every year, and our determination to pursue nuclear disarmament will only deepen in the years ahead.
It is fitting that mayors, driven by their sense of responsibility to protect their citizens' safety and welfare, take a keen interest in this cause. The horrific, indiscriminate, and long-term consequences of nuclear weapons for humanity and the environment cannot be overstated ? especially when they target densely populated areas.
The danger that nuclear weapons will be used again, either intentionally or accidentally, will exist for as long as they remain available, a conclusion reached at three major international humanitarian conferences and strongly affirmed by the United Nations.
And it is scandalous that vast sums are being devoted to maintaining and modernizing these weapons at a time when budget constraints undermine efforts to address pressing human needs around the world.
The number of nuclear near-misses -- accidents and miscalculations that have almost led to disaster -- is shocking. Moreover, such weapons and their related facilities and components are attractive targets for terrorists. It is a matter of no small public concern that international security still depends on "nuclear deterrence" -- a doctrine based on mutual distrust that aims to keep the peace through the threat of mass killings. Worse, there have been suggestions of their actual use.
Military planners who consider the use of nuclear weapons have probably given scant thought to those living in the cities on their target lists. For too long, the residents of cities have been used as pawns on a global nuclear chessboard, with little concern for the full implications of playing the game.
But, as the public is educated about the specific threats that nuclear weapons continue to pose to the cities in which they live, that stance will be increasingly difficult to maintain.
At the same time, people worldwide must stop regarding one another as untrustworthy enemies. That is why Mayors for Peace, together with a wide range of civil-society groups, is striving not only for the abolition of nuclear weapons, but also to cultivate a shared sense of belonging to a single human family, regardless of our cultural, religious, or ethnic differences.
Until now, nuclear-weapon states' national governments and bureaucracies have preferred to limit the disarmament debate to symbolic measures that imply no deadlines or additional legally binding obligations. They claim that the security environment is not mature enough to take bold steps toward nuclear disarmament. We disagree.
Concerted efforts -- involving national and local governments, universities, workers' unions, political parties, environmental groups, young people, women's groups, lawyers, and the business community -- can change the world. But it is world leaders -- in particular, those whose countries maintain nuclear weapons -- who must take the first step toward building confidence and initiating meaningful cooperation on disarmament.
Along the way, they can lay the groundwork for a new kind of security system -- one that does not rely on nuclear deterrence.
It is crucial that representatives at the NPT review conference work together to bring the rule of law to nuclear disarmament and close the gap in the NPT that has permitted the most inhumane of all weapons of mass destruction to continue to exist. Mayors for Peace and its civil-society partners will do everything we can do to support them. The tragic tale of our two cities should never become the tale of your city.