At meeting in London, campaigners discuss strategies for banning nuclear weapons

July 21, 2015

Sixty years ago this month, renowned intellectuals Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell issued their famous manifesto in London calling for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. “We appeal as human beings to human beings: remember your humanity, and forget the rest,” they wrote.

To mark the anniversary of this historic document and to build momentum for negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, ICAN organized a meeting at the Amnesty International action centre in London from 6 to 7 July, bringing together campaigners from across the United Kingdom, Europe and further afield.

We heard inspiring updates on campaign activities, and discussed the principles that should underpin a ban treaty and the kind of process that will be needed to achieve it. We also shared practical tips for raising public awareness, engaging parliamentarians, and attracting media attention.

Douglas Hern and Don James from the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association provided first-hand testimony on the ongoing suffering inflicted by the United Kingdom’s nuclear test programme at Kiritimati, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean that is now part of the Republic of Kiribati.

The meeting was lively and cooperative. “I for one am inspired and determined after the campaigners’ meeting, and hope that you are also feeling ready to ban nuclear weapons,” said Rebecca Sharkey, coordinator of ICAN in the UK, who co-organized the meeting with Laura Boillot and Holly Lubran.

Photos of the meeting are available on our Flickr page, and some of the best tweets by campaigners are published here on Storify. The short video clip below features the song “We Don’t Do That Anymore” by Canadian band The Burning Hell, written specially for ICAN. Our campaigners are now busy planning activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  • aiweiwei

    “Let’s act up! Ban nuclear weapons completely and unconditionally.”

    Ai Weiwei Artist and activist

  • sheen

    “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, they would be part of ICAN.”

    Martin Sheen Actor and activist

  • bankimoon

    “I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”

    Ban Ki-moon Former UN chief

  • yokoono

    “We can do it together. With your help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”

    Yoko Ono Artist

  • jodywilliams

    “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

    Jody Williams Nobel laureate

  • desmondtutu

    “With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”

    Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate

  • herbiehancock

    “Because I cannot tolerate these appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”

    Herbie Hancock Jazz musician

  • dalailama

    “I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”

    Dalai Lama Nobel laureate