Hiroshima meeting report - International Campaign to Abolish ...

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Hiroshima meeting report - International Campaign to Abolish ...

HIROSHIMA, 21 AUGUST 20123WELCOME MESSAGETsuboi Sunao, the chairperson of the Japan Confederation ofA-bomb Sufferers Organizations, opened the ICAN meetingwith words of encouragement and a moving account of theatomic bombing of Hiroshima 67 years ago. Mr Tsuboi was astudent at the time, on his way to university when the UnitedStates military detonated a nuclear bomb approximately1 kilometre from where he was standing.His face, hands, back, waist and legs were burnt by the heatrays. He was unconscious when World War II ended on 15August and did not remember anything for the next 40 days.He has been in and out of hospital 10 times since then, andhas been in a critical condition several times with a series ofdiseases, including chronic aplastic anemia, angina pectoris,large intestine cancer and prostate cancer.LAUNCH OF NEW PUBLICATIONDuring the meeting, ICAN launched a 24-pagebooklet detailing the “catastrophic effects ofnuclear weapons on our health, societies andthe environment”. The publication outlines whynuclear weapons should be banned just as otherinherently inhumane and indiscriminate weapons,such as landmines and cluster munitions, havebeen prohibited by treaties. A Japanese version ofthe booklet will be published online shortly.Topics covered in the booklet include:• The risk of nuclear weapons use and thepower of today’s nuclear arsenals• The human toll of the Hiroshima andNagasaki atomic bombingsINTRODUCTORY REMARKSSnøfrid Byrløkken Emterud, a counsellor at the Norwegianembassy in Tokyo, remarked on the importance of framingthe nuclear disarmament debate in humanitarian terms. InApril, the Norwegian government announced that it wouldhost a two-day conference in Oslo next March to examine thehumanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.Norway was one of 16 nations to endorse a statement at theNon-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) preparatory committee meetingin Vienna in May drawing attention to the “immeasurablesuffering” caused by nuclear weapons. In the final documentof the NPT review conference in 2010, governmentsexpressed their deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarianconsequences of any use of nuclear weapons.• The general effects of nuclear weapons(blast, heat and radiation)• The global climatic and agriculturalconsequences of a regional nuclear war• The likely effects of nuclear weaponsdetonated on major cities today• The lack of any adequate national orinternational response capacity• The health and environmental legacy ofdecades of nuclear testing• The harm caused during the productionphase of nuclear weapons• The diversion of public resources away frommeeting human needs• The history of outlawing other categories ofparticularly inhumane weapons• The urgent need for a global treaty to outlawand eliminate nuclear weapons.Download the booklet at www.icanw.org/chh


4ICAN CAMPAIGN MEETINGGlobal action ideasWhat can you do to build support for a nuclear weapons ban?TAKING ACTIONICAN’s focus is on mobilizing people to takeaction for a global ban on nuclear weapons.What exactly can individuals do to make adifference in this struggle? During the morningsession of the ICAN meeting in Hiroshima, eightcampaigners each presented a simple “globalaction idea”. They offered practical advice onhow to make the action successful, providingexamples of where it has worked in particularcountries and referring participants to anyrelevant resources. These were their ideas:1Engage Red Cross andRed Crescent societiesJohn Loretz, program directorat the International Physiciansfor the Prevention of NuclearWar, suggested that we workto engage national Red Crossand Red Crescent societiesin efforts to eliminate nuclearweapons. Last November, theRed Cross movement adopteda strong statement calling for aninternational legal agreement toban nuclear weapons.Doctors from the InternationalCommittee of the Red Cross wereamong the first non-Japanesepeople to arrive in Hiroshimafollowing the atomic bombing.Ever since then, the committeehas warned that there can be noadequate humanitarian responseto a nuclear attack anywhere inthe world. John highlighted therecent work of Australian RedCross as a good example of howRed Cross societies can raisepublic awareness about the harmcaused by nuclear weapons.Advancing a ban on nuclearweapons is part of their work toprevent humanitarian disastersand promote the laws of war.2Hold a Bombs No Moreactivity in the streetMisha Byrne from ICAN inAustralia described the BombsNo More action, which involvestaking a basic image of a nuclearbomb and transforming it intosomething else. It allows peopleto take disarmament into theirown hands. He explained how theactivity has been used to engagepeople in the streets, at musicfestivals and in schools in a nonconfrontationalway. Conferenceparticipants were given the theopportunity to take part in thisaction. For more details, seewww.bombsnomore.com.3Call on banks to divestfrom nuclear weaponsJosefin Lind from SwedishPhysicians against NuclearWeapons and ICAN Swedenencouraged participants toembrace divestment as atactic for delegitimizing nuclearweapons and building supportfor a ban. Earlier this year ICANlaunched a major report on globalinvestments in companies thatmanufacture and modernizenuclear weapons, available atwww.dontbankonthebomb.com. Since the report waslaunched, many campaigners,particularly in Europe, Australia,Japan and Canada, have usedthe findings to generate mediaattention and pressure financialinstitutions to stop supportingthe nuclear weapons industry. InSweden, ICAN has met with threeof the four banks identified in thereport, and all are giving seriousconsideration to the steps theycan take to ensure that they donot undermine efforts to achievenuclear disarmament.4Use social media topromote ICANDaniela Varano, who is thecommunications coordinatorat the ICAN office in Geneva,described the value of socialmedia in promoting our campaignmessage and empowering peopleto take action for a nuclearweapons ban. She reported thatICAN has substantially increasedits presence and impact onFacebook and Twitter in recentmonths, allowing it to spread itsmessage more widely.


6ICAN CAMPAIGN MEETINGNext steps for ICANBuilding the momentum for a nuclear weapons banICAN IN ASIA AND THE PACIFICIn the second half of the meeting, we discussedways to build ICAN’s presence in Asia and thePacific. Representatives from various ICANpartner organizations in the region – includingin Japan, India, the Philippines and Australia –described the work they are doing to promotea nuclear weapons ban, and offered their viewson the opportunities that lie ahead for ICAN.They suggested that we work to coordinate ourefforts more effectively. Akira Kawasaki (right)explained that Peace Boat aims to establishICAN more formally in Japan, and that he andhis colleagues will continue to work in closepartnership with ICAN’s Melbourne office toincrease the campaign’s presence in the region.NEXT INTERNATIONAL ICAN MEETINGThe next international ICAN meeting willtake place in Oslo from 2–3 March 2013 –immediately before the Norwegian governmentrunmeeting on the catastrophic humanitarianconsequences of nuclear weapons. A follow-upICAN strategy meeting will be held on 6 March.Magnus Løvold and Anne Marte Skaland,coordinators of ICAN Norway, outlined whatICAN hopes to achieve in Oslo in March andpresented ideas for what campaigners cando now in the lead-up to the meetings. Theyencouraged people to look into the effects of anuclear attack on their own country and evaluatethe humanitarian response capacity.QUESTIONNAIREWe circulated the following questions toparticipants. If you would like to add your plansor ideas, please email them to info@icanw.org:• What do you plan to do over the comingyear to promote civil society engagementwith ICAN in your country?• How do you plan to convince yourgovernment to support negotiations for anuclear weapons ban?• What do you think ICAN could be doingmore effectively in its work for a nuclearweapons ban?NEW STRUCTUREICAN has grown rapidlyover the past twoyears. As a result, wehave needed to makeimprovements to ourinternational structure toput us in the strongestpossible position toadvance and supportnegotiations for anuclear weapons ban.ICAN chair TilmanRuff outlined a newstructure for ICAN,which was developedin consultation withICAN campaigners fromaround the world. Itsmain elements are anInternational SteeringGroup, an InternationalStaff team and PartnerOrganizations.An email list will beset up to facilitatebetter communicationsamong all campaigners.For more details, seewww.icanw.org/files/ICANstructure.pdf

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