Despite visit to Hiroshima, no new efforts for nuclear disarmament from G7 Foreign Ministers
April 11, 2016
As the foreign ministers of the G7 countries concluded their meeting today in Hiroshima with a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the seven countries claimed to “share the desire that nuclear weapons never be used again”, while continuing to stand ready to use such weapons.
Despite recognizing the “immense devastation and human suffering” that the US atomic bombs unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, all G7 countries continue to possess nuclear weapons or take part in military agreements predicated on their possession and use – thereby standing ready to inflict such inhumane consequences again.
“While the G7 claim to share the desire that nuclear weapons never be used again, the declaration fails to make any commitment to accelerate or redouble efforts to advance disarmament” says Akira Kawasaki, Executive Director of Peace Boat and ICAN steering group member.
He continues, “Given that all G7 countries maintain defense policies that involve being ready to use nuclear weapons and unleash inhumane and indiscriminate humanitarian harm, we cannot expect leadership from them on nuclear disarmament. Other states must go ahead and prohibit nuclear weapons with or without them.”
The US atomic bomb that was dropped over Hiroshima killed an estimated 140,000 people, both through the initial blast and through severe radiation exposure. The victims were mainly civilians and people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still suffering from the delayed effects of radioactive contamination.
“Within a single flash of light, Hiroshima became a place of desolation, with heaps of rubble, grotesquely wounded people and blackened corpses everywhere. The G7 Foreign Ministers walk on the ground where people’s bones are still being found. It is on this ground where thousands of people were instantly melted or vaporized. And yet the same governments continue to build their national security around these inhumane weapons and oppose efforts to prohibit them,” says Setsuko Thurlow, activist and survivor of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.
On 2 May, governments will gather at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland to hold talks about creating new laws on nuclear weapons. Three of the G7 members, the United States, United Kingdom, and France, are boycotting these talks, thereby refusing to engage constructively in efforts to “create the conditions” for nuclear disarmament, as they themselves have committed to.
In spite of this, 127 governments have endorsed the “Humanitarian Pledge”: a commitment to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. The talks in Geneva will be an opportunity to start working on the elements of a new prohibition treaty – with or without the nuclear-armed states on board.
“The experiences from Hiroshima and Nagasaki highlights that nuclear weapons are unacceptable on humanitarian grounds and need to be prohibited. The G7 countries, should join the majority of governments that recognize this and participate in the process to prohibit nuclear weapons,” says Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN.
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