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From February 13–14, SGI delegates participated in the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, hosted by the Mexican Government and held in Nuevo Vallarta in the state of Nayarit. Chaired by Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, Mexico’s Vice Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, the conference was attended by delegations representing 146 governments, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and over 120 representatives of civil society. Executive Director for Peace Affairs Hirotsugu Terasaki and Program Director for Peace Affairs Kimiaki Kawai attended on SGI’s behalf.
The Nayarit conference was a follow-up to the first international conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons that took place in Oslo, Norway, in March 2013, where participants concluded that no type of preparation and capacity in the world could protect the population of any city from the humanitarian catastrophe of a nuclear explosion.
Building upon the conclusions reached at Oslo, the Nayarit Conference saw presentations from UN agencies, academics, former military officials and civil society organizations demonstrating the harmful and lethal effects of any nuclear weapon detonation, deliberate or accidental, in areas such as public health, climate change, food security, development, economic growth and the displacement of people. Hibakusha, survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bomb attacks, also shared testimonies of the long term physical, psychological and social impacts of the explosion of a nuclear weapon. The evidence presented substantiated the fact that the continued existence, possession and deployment of nuclear weapons pose an existential threat to humanity and the planet.
In his summary of the meeting, Vice Minister Robledo stated that now is the time to start a diplomatic process with a specific timeframe for governments and civil society to develop new international standards and norms for nuclear weapons through a legally binding instrument. “It is time to take action. The 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks [in 2015] is the appropriate milestone to achieve our goal,” he concluded. “Nayarit is a point of no return.”
related article Faith Communities Unite Against Nuclear Weapons at ICAN Civil Society Forum; Issue Joint Statement Prior to the holding of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons from December 8-9 at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) held a Civil Society Forum (CSF) from December 6-7 at the Aula der Wissenchaften. The CSF was attended by more than 600 people from 70 countries representing 100 organizations. It was also announced that the Third Conference will be held in Vienna, Austria, within this year to reaffirm conclusions made at Oslo and Nayarit, deepen momentum within the international community and take concrete steps toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.
In conjunction with the official conference, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) hosted a two-day campaigners meeting before the conference, and a debriefing afterwards, for civil society activists to explore steps they can take in support of a treaty banning nuclear weapons in the build-up towards Vienna. Over 120 participants, including the SGI representatives, attended these meetings. The anti-nuclear weapons exhibition “Everything You Treasure: For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons,” jointly created by ICAN and SGI, was also on display during the conference.
[Adapted from a report from SGI Office of Public Information (SGI-OPI) and an article from the February 18, 2014, issue of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mexico, and SGI-OPI]
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