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International Coalition of over 250 Groups Launches Campaign Calling on Obama and World Leaders to Begin Negotiations to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons Worldwide

[IW: I think they are making a mistake in not asking for a ban on nuclear power plants Also.  I see nuclear power plants as a gateway drug to nuclear weapons.  and the plants are dangerous for the same reasons that the weapons must be banned.]

May UN non-proliferation treaty review conference is focal point for international organizing

On today’s seventh anniversary of the largest peace demonstration in world history—the historic February 15, 2003 mobilization against the US-led war on Iraq that saw 12 million people around the world march for peace– an international network of more than 250 organizations publicly launched a campaign to press US President Barack Obama and other world leaders to initiate negotiations to abolish nuclear weapons worldwide.

The coalition, organizing under the banner “For Peace and Human Needs: Disarmament Now!” calls for negotiations on ridding the planet of the scourge of nuclear weapons to begin at or before the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon) at the United Nations in New York City this May. (See http://www.peaceandjusticenow.org.)

“Representatives of the world’s governments will gather at the UN for nearly a month, to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime,” said Dr. Joseph Gerson of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC.) He continued, “While President Obama has raised hopes with important speeches calling for a world free of nuclear weapons, we have been disappointed that negotiations for arms reductions with Russia are going slowly, the US Senate is not moving to ratify important treaties like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and that Obama’s budget calls for a major increase in funding to ‘modernize’ the US nuclear weapons complex.”

“Some 2,000 Japanese citizens, including more than 100 Hibakusha [A- and H- bomb survivors] will come to N.Y. to join the US citizens in action” said Hiroshi Taka, General Secretary of the Japan Council against A- and H- Bombs (Gensuikyo.) “Having lived with agonies in both mind and body, the Hibakusha carry a message to Government leaders and the citizens the world over, that there should never be another Hiroshima or Nagasaki anywhere on earth, and that nuclear weapons should be totally banned and abolished.”

Speaking for German and European movements, Reiner Braun of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists said” We are organizing because we urgently need concerned people the world over to demand an end to politics as usual. We must demand that the nuclear powers fulfill their NPT Article VI obligation to commence negotiations to completely eliminate their nuclear arsenals. The time is now to start negotiations to ban nuclear weapons, and to turn away from militarism and toward human and environmental security.”

An international planning committee made up of peace, disarmament and social justice organizations from Japan, Britain, France, Germany and the US is coordinating many events around the NPT RevCon to show international grassroots support for nuclear disarmament, ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and cutting global military spending in order to fund human needs and environmental restoration.

“An international petition campaign calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, initiated by Japanese peace groups in August 2008, will pick up steam between now and the NPT RevCon,” said Judith LeBlanc of Peace Action Education Fund. Activists from across the world will deliver millions of petition signatures to world leaders during the first week of the NPT RevCon, which convenes May 3, and will be delivering the U.S. petitions to the White House before the RevCon begins.”
Days before the NPT RevCon begins, on April 30 and May 1, an international educational and organizing conference on peace, disarmament, social justice and environmental issue will be held at Manhattan’s historic Riverside Church and surrounding venues, with more than 1,000 people expected to attend. Sunday, May 2 will be the International Day of Action for a Nuclear Free World. Tens of thousands of people – including nuclear weapons victims from Japan and other nations, and Japanese peace activists, will march across mid-town Manhattan for a peace march, rally and festival that will conclude near the U.N. Parallel events will be held in many European and Asian nations.

For more information on the campaign and its various activities, please see http://www.peaceandjusticenow.org. For additional information about the NPT and the RevCon see http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/legal/npt/2010index.html.

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