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On July 7, 2017, the United Nations adopted a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, marking an important step toward their eventual elimination. The SGI issued the following statement applauding this historical advancement, noting the need to now create broad support for the treaty and for the ongoing global endeavor to realize a world without nuclear weapons.
The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) wholeheartedly welcomes the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on July 7 at UN Headquarters in New York, as a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.
We have long worked toward the abolition of these most inhumane of weapons, and would like to express our deepest respect to all the hibakusha, governments, UN and other international organizations and nongovernmental organizations around the world who have made dedicated efforts to realize this treaty.
This adoption is a historic milestone on the path toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons, the fruition of the efforts of the world’s hibakusha and those in the international community who have called for their abolition for more than 70 years since they were used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
For many years, as Buddhists upholding respect for the dignity of life, the SGI has been engaged in raising grassroots awareness toward the abolition of nuclear weapons on a global scale. We have organized exhibitions, petition drives, lectures and publications, based on the initiatives of young people and women, and also contributed to international policy-making processes from the moral and ethical standpoint at forums focusing on nuclear arms.
The existence of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat to the right to life of both the individual and humankind as a whole. For this reason, their total elimination is a desire shared by all people. It is also clear that disarmament education plays an important role in order to realize and sustain a world without nuclear weapons. It is equally important to ensure the participation of women in peace and security processes. These points put forward by the SGI as a representative of civil society during the negotiations have been reflected in the treaty as adopted.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Declaration Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons made by second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda in September 1957, in which he described nuclear weapons as an absolute evil. It is of great significance for us that a treaty prohibiting these weapons has become a reality at this time.
The adoption of this treaty is a concrete step toward the realization of a world without nuclear weapons, the common wish of all humanity. The next challenge will be to make the significance of the treaty widely understood, and to ensure broad and solid support going forward. We strongly hope that nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-dependent states who did not participate in this conference will come to work with us in this global endeavor to create a world free from nuclear weapons.
It is essential to raise awareness so that an understanding of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons is shared even more broadly across borders and across generations. It becomes increasingly important to bring together the voices of citizens calling for nuclear abolition on a greater scale and to encourage grassroots action toward realization of a world free from nuclear weapons.
As SGI President Daisaku Ikeda wrote in his September 2009 proposal “Building Global Solidarity Toward Nuclear Abolition”:
If we are to put the era of nuclear terror behind us, we must struggle against the real “enemy.” That enemy is not nuclear weapons per se, nor is it the states that possess or develop them. The real enemy that we must confront is the ways of thinking that justify nuclear weapons; the readiness to annihilate others when they are seen as a threat or as a hindrance to the realization of our objectives.
To make a world free from nuclear weapons sustainable, it must be underpinned by this kind of fundamental change in our way of thinking.
The SGI will continue to work with all like-minded stakeholders to further develop solidarity with the citizens of the world toward the realization of a world free from nuclear weapons.
SGI Director General of Peace and Global Issues