A Confrontation with the Nuclear Powers in 2010
Joseph Gerson directs the Peace and Economic Security Program of the American Friends Service Committee, and is the
author most recently of Empire and the Bomb: How the US Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World (Pluto Press, 2007).
It may sound arcane, but the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, which will be held at the United Nations in April 2010, may be among the most important occasions in human history. The NPT, which went into force in 1972, was among the most important agreements of the twentieth century. Non-nuclear states foreswore ever obtaining nuclear weapons in exchange for commitments from the nuclear powers to negotiate the complete elimination of their own nuclear arsenals, and to share technologies for nuclear power generation. The nuclear powers, led by the US, have refused to get rid of their own nuclear weapons. Combined with a history of US nuclear threats, this has been a driving force in international nuclear weapons proliferation.
As an important part of the campaign to lead the nuclear powers
to fulfill their NPT Treaty commitments, on the 2008 anniversary
of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima 9,000 Japanese peace activists
and peace activists and diplomats from 34 countries launched the
Appeal for a Nuclear Free World. The goal is to bring millions
of signed petitions to the United Nations to stiffen the will
of the Review Conference to hold the nuclear powers accountable.
Circulating the petition (copies of which can be downloaded from
www.afsc.org/pes) also provides a means of doing public education
and outreach for this essential campaign. The text of the petition
Appeal for a Nuclear Weapon-Free World
Even now, in the 21st Century, world peace and security are still threatened by 26,000 nuclear weapons.
As the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki show us, nuclear weapons instantly destroy lives, torment people in future generations, and ruin civilizations.
The Hibakusha, (survivors of nuclear weapons attacks and testing) continue to warn that humanity cannot coexist with nuclear weapons. Never again should we create more victims of nuclear weapons.
For the survival of the human race, let us achieve a world free of nuclear weapons through our actions in solidarity.
As we look ahead toward the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, the nuclear weapons states are called upon to honor the "unequivocal undertaking" of May 2000 to eliminate their nuclear weapons.
We call on the nuclear weapons states and all other governments to agree to commence and conclude negotiations of a treaty, a nuclear weapons convention, to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons without delay.
This Appeal is issued on August 6, 2008, by representatives of the peace movement assembled in Hiroshima from around the world. The signature drive is underway worldwide, and the petitions will be presented to the next NPT Review Conference to be held in Spring 2010 in New York.
Signed appeals can be sent to Gensuikyo, 2-4-4 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8464, Japan or AFSC, Peace & Economic Security Program, 2161 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140 USA