Hiroshima victims welcome the draft text of nuclear ban treaty

Gensuikyo,the Japan disarmament group which mainly consists of Hiroshima victims, has welcomed the first-ever draft text of the Nuclear Ban Treaty, released in the UN earlier this month. We are reproducing below the Gensuikyo statement:

“We Heartily Welcome Draft Convention on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”

May 24, 2017
YASUI Masakazu, Secretary General
Japan Council against A & H Bombs (Gensuikyo)

1. On May 22, a draft convention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons was released. We express our deep respect to Ambassador Ellen Whyte, the Chair of the UN negotiation conference and her team who have made excellent work to compile the draft text based on the discussion during the first session in March, and heartily welcome this announcement.

2. Based on the knowledge on the damage caused by nuclear weapons and the humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons, the draft convention expressed a strong commitment to ensuring that nuclear weapons are never used again. It confirms a clear standpoint of prohibiting any methods or means of warfare that are incompatible with humanity.

In its Article 1, the draft explicitly prohibits development, production, manufacturing, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, as well as use of nuclear weapons. Further, it calls on each State Party to provide assistance to the victims of the use or testing of nuclear weapons in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law.

These provisions are in consonant with the damage inflicted on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and also with the fundamental goals that our movement has upheld since the beginning together with the Hibakusha: Prevention of nuclear war; total ban and elimination of nuclear weapons; and relief and solidarity with the Hibakusha.

3. The draft convention states, “Mindful of the suffering for the victims of the use of nuclear weapons (Hibakusha) as well as of those affected by the testing of nuclear weapons”. Further, stressing the role of “public conscience” for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, it recognizes the efforts undertaken by “numerous non-governmental organizations and the Hibakusha.”

In the first session of the negotiation conference in March, for the first time in the history of the United Nations, the representatives of the Hibakusha and civil society organizations officially attended the conference together with those of national governments and joined the discussion on the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. Many government representatives expressed their appreciation on the role of the civil society and proposed that the “Hibakusha” and the “role of civil society” be referred to in the Preamble of the treaty. Together with the Hibakusha, we heartily welcome that this was achieved as a result of the efforts of our movement led by the Hibakusha.

4. We call for maximum participation of countries in the second session of the U.N. negotiation conference to be started on June 15, and joining in the historic undertaking of discussion, decision and adoption of the convention to prohibit nuclear weapons.

We urge that the government of Japan that represents the people of the A-bombed nation, including 170,000 Hibakusha still suffering from the aftereffects of the A-bombing, should change its policy of clinging to the “nuclear umbrella”, respond to the expectations of the people of Japan and the world, and join the work of creating the convention to prohibit nuclear weapons.

For the success of the U.N. conference, we express our strong commitment to enhance international and domestic public opinions in support of the prohibition on nuclear weapons, through promoting the “International Hibakusha Appeal Signature Campaign” aiming to achieve several hundred million signatures.