Hiroshima 2014: A case for world free of nu­clear weapons

Daily Trust - - ANALYSIS - By Anthony Ma­liki, who was in Ja­pan

The 8th min­is­te­rial meet­ing of the Non­Pro­lif­er­a­tion and Dis­ar­ma­ment Ini­tia­tive (NPDI) was held in Hiroshima, Ja­pan were the Atomic bomb was dropped on Au­gust 6, 1945 to herald the end of the World War II. This re­port looks at the out­come of the meet­ing es­pe­cially hu­man­i­tar­ian ef­fects of nu­clear arms. sur­vivors called Hibakushas and in­vite the world’s po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to visit Hiroshima and Na­gasaki to also wit­ness the con­se­quences with their own eyes.

The dec­la­ra­tion states that quan­ti­ta­tive re­duc­tions should be ac­com­pa­nied by steps to­wards re­duc­ing the role and sig­nif­i­cance of nu­clear weapons in se­cu­rity strate­gies and mil­i­tary doc­trines. These steps are im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions to­wards the goal of com­plete nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment and will be mu­tu­ally re­in­forc­ing with fur­ther quan­ti­ta­tive re­duc­tions. It states that while it ac­knowl­edge steps that have been taken in this re­gard, the NPDI urged nu­cle­ar­weapon states to fur­ther re­duce the role of nu­clear weapons and urged oth­ers who have not done so to start re­duc­ing the role of nu­clear weapons in their se­cu­rity strate­gies and mil­i­tary doc­trines.

But the NPDI said it is deeply con­cerned and frus­trated with the con­tin­ued stale­mate in the Con­fer­ence on Dis­ar­ma­ment (CD). “We re­gret that the CD has failed to ful­fill its man­date as the sin­gle mul­ti­lat­eral dis­ar­ma­ment ne­go­ti­a­tions fo­rum of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity for more than 18 years. It is time for the CD’s Mem­ber States to take bold steps to­wards ful­fill­ing the CD’s man­date and re­sume ne­go­ti­a­tions,” it stated.

As an es­sen­tial step to­wards a world free of nu­clear weapons, the min­is­ters said the im­me­di­ate com­mence­ment of ne­go­ti­a­tions on a non-dis­crim­i­na­tory, mul­ti­lat­eral and uni­ver­sally and ef­fec­tively ver­i­fi­able treaty to ban the pro­duc­tion of fis­sile ma­te­rial for nu­clear weapons or other nu­clear ex­plo­sive de­vices that serves both dis­ar­ma­ment and non-pro­lif­er­a­tion pur­poses re­mains a pri­or­ity. As such, it said it wel­come and look for­ward to the work of the Group of Gov­ern­men­tal Ex­perts (GGE) on this is­sue, which just ended its first ses­sion in Geneva re­cently. It there­fore urged the CD to launch ne­go­ti­a­tions on such a treaty as soon as pos­si­ble. Pend­ing the con­clu­sion of such ne­go­ti­a­tions, it stated, all nu­clear-weapon States and other States in pos­ses­sion of nu­clear weapons should de­clare and main­tain a mora­to­rium on the pro­duc­tion The 8th min­is­te­rial meet­ing of the Non-Pro­lif­er­a­tion and Dis­ar­ma­ment Ini­tia­tive (NPDI) which held in Hiroshima, Ja­pan on April 12th turned its at­ten­tion to the cat­a­strophic hu­man­i­tar­ian con­se­quences of the use of any nu­clear weapon on mankind.

The 12-mem­ber na­tions of the body there­fore called in strong terms for the nearly 69-year record of non-use of nu­clear weapons be ex­tended for­ever.

In what could be termed “Hiroshima Dec­la­ra­tion” the NPDI es­tab­lished four years ago was also wor­ried about the con­se­quences of the use of nu­clear weapons as ex­pressed in the 2010 Non Pro­lif­er­a­tion Treaty (NPT) Re­view Con­fer­ence Fi­nal Doc­u­ment.

In a state­ment the body ex­plained that: “The cat­a­strophic hu­man­i­tar­ian im­pact of nu­clear weapons fun­da­men­tally un­der­pins all work to suc­ceed in our non-pro­lif­er­a­tion ef­forts and to achieve nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment in pur­suit of a more se­cure world.”

NPDI mem­ber-coun­tries are Aus­tralia, Canada, Chile, Ger­many, Ja­pan, Mex­ico, the Nether­lands, Nigeria, the Philip­pines, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emi­rates.

The min­is­ters in the meet­ing held in Hiroshima which wit­nessed the dev­as­ta­tion of the Atomic bomb dropped on Au­gust 6, 1945 said the hu­man­i­tar­ian im­pact of nu­clear weapons should be in­clu­sive and uni­ver­sal as well as a cat­a­lyst for a united global ac­tion to­wards the goal of a world free of nu­clear weapons.

In­deed the NPDI in the dec­la­ra­tion was cat­e­gor­i­cal about why the meet­ing was held in Hiroshima. It said: “we gath­ered here in Hiroshima, where an atomic bomb was dropped for the first time in hu­man his­tory, and wit­nessed first-hand the cat­a­strophic hu­man­i­tar­ian con­se­quences of an atomic bomb­ing that last even to this present day.” It also said they are touched very deeply by the tes­ti­monies of atomic bomb of fis­sile ma­te­rial for use in nu­clear weapons.

Be­sides, the NPDI, as a group of non-nu­clear-weapon States which are com­mit­ted to pro­mot­ing nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment and non-pro­lif­er­a­tion, is fol­low­ing with grave con­cern the sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine, which has been the sub­ject of in­ten­sive dis­cus­sions in NPDI as well as at the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly.

Also, the NPDI said it ex­pects in­ter­na­tional obli­ga­tions and com­mit­ments to be re­spected, in­clud­ing the 1994 Bu­dapest Me­moran­dum on Se­cu­rity As­sur­ances in con­nec­tion with Ukraine’s ac­ces­sion to the Treaty on the Non Pro­lif­er­a­tion of Nu­clear Weapons.

Also con­tribut­ing to the nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment is­sue, the Chair­per­son, Hiroshima Peace Cul­ture Foun­da­tion and Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, May­ors for Peace, Mr. Ya­suyoshi Komizo said the great­est re­spon­si­bil­ity to­wards nu­clear con­trol and elim­i­na­tion lies with the lead­ers in the United Na­tions (UN).

He said coun­tries with nu­clear weapons must think about the hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe it would cost the world rather show for mil­i­tary might. The chair­per­son said though people have their cul­tural, re­li­gious and eth­nic dif­fer­ences, the over­all con­sid­er­a­tion of be­long­ing to a hu­man com­mu­nity should be up­per­most in the is­sue of nu­clear weapons dis­ar­ma­ment.

Komizo who worked at the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) with its for­mer Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Mo­hammed el-Baradie pointed out that nu­clear na­tions must have a change of heart to­wards the ef­fect on hu­man­ity.

He told jour­nal­ists dur­ing a di­a­logue in Hiroshima that sus­tain­able peace cuts across all gen­er­a­tions but the younger gen­er­a­tion must be in­volved in the cam­paign against nu­clear weapons.

Be­sides, the Com­mis­sioner, Ja­pan Atomic En­ergy Com­mis­sioner, Nobuyasu Abe ex­pressed con­cern about the in­ca­pac­ity of the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) to ad­e­quately mon­i­tor nu­clear de­vel­op­ments across the globe due to limited budget.

Also, he said though there are fis­sile ma­te­ri­als in Ja­pan in the past forty years for re­search pur­poses and so far the coun­try has not de­vel­oped nu­clear weapons since then shows that it has no in­ten­tion to do so now or in the fu­ture.

He ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tory with the NPDI meet­ing in Hiroshima say­ing for ask­ing coun­tries with nu­clear weapons to join in the ne­go­ti­a­tions es­pe­cially US and Rus­sia is a step for­ward and the fo­cus on the ter­ri­ble hu­man­i­tar­ian con­se­quences of the use of nu­clear weapons is a strong ref­er­ence at the meet­ing.

Abe said the call on nu­clear na­tions to be trans­par­ent in their deal­ings is a good step for­ward and for the meet­ing to hold in Hiroshima to meet with the people hear and lis­ten to the people and the sur­vivors in ad­di­tion to look at the “lega­cies” of the Atomic bomb is a unique op­por­tu­nity.

In Hiroshima, when the bomb was det­o­nated, in a swoop, within two kilo­me­tres of the hypo cen­tre most build­ings were to­tally de­stroyed, about 2000 to 6500 chil­dren are or­phaned with about 70, 000 burnt to ashes. And within few months, people oth­ers died from leukemia and other in­fec­tions from the bomb.

The hu­man­i­tar­ian con­se­quences of the Atomic bomb could be best ap­pre­ci­ated with the tes­ti­mony of one of the vic­tims Ms. Emiko Okada who was eight years old when it was dropped in Hiroshima in 1945 said the sit­u­a­tion was fright­en­ing than one could ever imag­ine. Even af­ter 69 years, Okada’s emo­tions are still high and could re­call clearly events of the day where in a flash the whole city was de­stroyed and people cry­ing for wa­ter and noth­ing no­body could help.

She who lost her el­der sis­ter on that day said her younger brother is still trau­ma­tised about the bomb­ing and is still with­drawn up­till now with stresses of some de­men­tia and never wanted to dis­cuss about the event.

Okada said: “The cri­sis I have seen in Hiroshima is enough. Why must people suf­fer? People were vom­it­ing not only blood but some­thing black. I hope such thing does not hap­pen again.”

Iron­i­cally, the di­rect vic­tims of the Atomic bomb are the ones call­ing for peace and the need to stop nu­clear pro­lif­er­a­tion and dis­ar­ma­ment de­spite the fact that they wit­nessed the dev­as­ta­tion of the A-bomb.

Re­mains of the Hiroshima Pre­fec­tural In­dus­trial Hall af­ter the atomic bomb on Au­gust 6, 1945

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