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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 May 24 - 30  > Increase global awareness and strengthen global movements to bring a nuclear weapons ban treaty into force
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2017 May 24 - 30 [PEACE]

Increase global awareness and strengthen global movements to bring a nuclear weapons ban treaty into force

May 29, 2017

Akahata editorial

In preparation for the second session of the UN conference on a nuclear weapons ban treaty slated for June, President of the Conference Elayne Whyte recently published a Draft Convention. Many Hibakusha, anti-nuclear peace groups, the mayors of the A-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and many others have voiced their resounding approval. The Japanese Communist Party heartily welcomed this historic Draft Convention with the party chair Shii’s statement and will work even harder to achieve the adoption of the treaty and the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Hibakusha’s earnest wish reflected in the Draft Convention

The draft in its preamble emphasizes the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons and is “mindful of the suffering” of the “victims of the use of nuclear weapons (Hibakusha) as well as of those affected by the testing of nuclear weapons”. The draft highly evaluates the efforts undertaken by Hibakusha and numerous non-governmental organizations. Demands of Hibakusha and nuclear peace movements have been squarely reflected in the Draft Convention.

Under Article 1 of the Draft Convention, it is prohibited to “develop, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons” in addition to transferring, receiving, and using those weapons as well as carrying out nuclear weapons tests. This article clearly makes nuclear weapons illegal. It is also important that the Draft Convention in Article 4 proposes “measures for states that have eliminated their nuclear weapons” and opens the door for nuclear weapons states to participate in the Convention.

Article 6 of the draft obliges state parties to provide assistance to those affected by the use or testing of nuclear weapons, meaning that Hibakusha’s long-standing movement for public support has borne fruit.

The Draft Convention has great significance as it bans nuclear weapons and makes them illegal, which will lead to their total elimination.

The first session of the UN conference in March, the foundation for the Draft Convention, was filled with the presence of civil society representatives. A group of JCP members headed by Chair Shii conveyed Hibakusha’s voices to the conference and worked for its success. The JCP group during the conference met with government representatives to request that a treaty banning nuclear weapons – a legally binding agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons – be concluded as early as possible even with the absence of nuclear weapons states at present. The party’s request received favorable responses. What the JCP requested coincides with the content of the Draft Convention. The draft is the conclusion of joint efforts of global civil society and more than 130 governments. The draft is scheduled to be discussed and adopted in the second session of the UN Conference (between June 15 and July 7). Further revisions and refinements of the draft is expected.

However, the nuclear weapons states of the U.S., the U.K., France, Russia and China and the “nuclear umbrella”-dependent nations intensified their criticism of the nuclear weapons ban treaty claiming that it is “harmful to international security” and are trying to hinder negotiations for the completion of the treaty.

The Abe Shinzo government supports the nuclear weapons states and takes a position inappropriate for a nation which was subjected to nuclear attacks. This has evoked a sense of disappointment and a great deal of criticism both at home and abroad. The Japanese government should fundamentally review its current position and participate in helping to complete an international treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

For overcoming moves opposing ban on nuclear weapons

The decisive power that will overcome the attempt to maintain nuclear weapons by the nuclear weapons states is the power of a united global movement opposing nuclear weapons.

On June 17 in New York City, a women’s march appealing for the total elimination of nuclear weapons will be held. From Japan, Hibakusha and representatives of various groups, including many women’s organizations will participate in the march. Various actions will be carried out on that day worldwide, and various activities are also scheduled at many locations across Japan.

With the “International Signature Campaign in Support of the Appeal of the Hibakusha for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” at the core, the urgent need is to build an overwhelming global movement which will drive the nuclear nations into giving up their atomic weapons.

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