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The Hiroshima Appeal
an article by Mayors for Peace

We, representatives of 5,712 cities from 157 countries/regions around the world, have met at the 8th General Conference of Mayors for Peace held in Hiroshima [August 2013] and engaged in extensive discussions on the theme 'Toward a World without Nuclear Weapons—Conveying the "Spirit of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" to the World.'

click on photo to enlarge

In August 1945, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were reduced to ruins, in both cases by a single atomic bomb, and more than 210,000 people from the two cities lost their precious lives. The suffering of the atomic bomb survivors—known as hibakusha—from the blast, heat and radiation continues to this day, 68 years later. Having lived through an experience too cruel to be put into words, the atomic bomb survivors have continued to appeal for nuclear abolition and to extend their desire for peace to the people of the world. Their dedication stems from their deep humanitarian conviction that "no one should ever again suffer as we have."

Mayors for Peace, which feels a strong sense of responsibility to guarantee the safety and welfare of citizens everywhere, empathizes profoundly with the spirit of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in striving for nuclear abolition and peace, and is intensifying its activities to promote the abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020.

"Hiroshima" and "Nagasaki" are names that are now well known throughout the world. However, those states that possess nuclear weapons have turned a deaf ear to the earnest appeals of the hibakusha, and during the Cold War they engaged in a nuclear arms race that eventually increased their number to the current total of nine. While there has been some reduction in the number of nuclear weapons, this has been too slow and inadequate. Today, almost a quarter of a century since the Cold War ended, an estimated 17,300 nuclear weapons continue to pose an intolerable threat to humanity and the environment. With about 2,000 nuclear weapons on high alert, the threatened use of nuclear weapons, euphemistically called "deterrence," and the unspeakable horror it implies, is still the mainstay of the international security regime. Furthermore, nuclear proliferation remains a current and dangerous threat, and we cannot deny the possibility that a sub-national terrorist group might obtain nuclear weapons.

And yet, in a time of unprecedented global economic crisis, fantastically expensive programs to use new tests to modernize nuclear weapons systems are underway in all of the states that possess nuclear arms, with no end in sight, misappropriating resources that are badly needed to fund basic human needs.

The need to achieve a world without nuclear weapons that will be sustainable over the long term compels us to build a new society in which mutual distrust and threats are replaced by a shared sense of community, rooted in an awareness that we all belong to the same human family. In such a society, diversity will be treasured and disputes will be resolved through peaceful means.

(This article is continued in the discussionboard)


Question(s) related to this article:

Can we abolish all nuclear weapons? ,

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30 August 2012 — The following opinion piece by Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon has appeared in leading newspapers in Argentina, Bangladesh, Burundi, China, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, The Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and European weekly publications and has been translated into 10 languages.

Last month, competing interests prevented agreement on a much-needed treaty that would have reduced the appalling human cost of the poorly regulated international arms trade. Meanwhile, nuclear disarmament efforts remain stalled, despite strong and growing global popular sentiment in support of this cause.

The failure of these negotiations and this month's anniversaries of the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki provide a good opportunity to explore what has gone wrong, why disarmament and arms control have proven so difficult to achieve, and how the world community can get back on track towards these vitally important goals.

Many defence establishments now recognize that security means far more than protecting borders. Grave security concerns can arise as a result of demographic trends, chronic poverty, economic inequality, environmental degradation, pandemic diseases, organized crime, repressive governance and other developments no state can control alone. Arms can't address such concerns.

Yet there has been a troubling lag between recognizing these new security challenges, and launching new policies to address them. National budget priorities still tend to reflect the old paradigms. Massive military spending and new investments in modernizing nuclear weapons have left the world over-armed -- and peace under-funded.

Last year, global military spending reportedly exceeded $1.7 trillion – more than $4.6 billion a day, which alone is almost twice the UN's budget for an entire year. This largesse includes billions more for modernizing nuclear arsenals decades into the future.

This level of military spending is hard to explain in a post-Cold War world and amidst a global financial crisis. Economists would call this an "opportunity cost". . ...more.

This report was posted on August 22, 2013.