TO UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI MOON
RE: ABOLITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
High Representative Sergio Duarte
Dear United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon,
Non-Governmental organisations from around the world are writing to you to express our strong support for the leadership you are showing in your calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
You have repeatedly stated the absolute necessity of doing this ever since the launch of your Five Point Plan for Nuclear Disarmament in October 2008. We are particularly encouraged by your recent statements in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as those of other UN officials such as the High Representative for Disarmament, Ambassador Sergio Duarte.
Indeed, no objective could be more important, as nuclear weapons threaten the very survival of humans.
The ICNND (International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament) notes that:
"The problem of nuclear weapons is at least equal to that of climate change in terms of gravity - and much more immediate in its potential impact"
We would particularly like to emphasise our support for:
--Your Five Point Plan;
--For a Nuclear Weapons Convention or equivalent interlocking framework of agreements (as envisaged in your Five Point Plan);
--For an immediate lowering in the operational status of nuclear weapons systems and their removal from security doctrines;
--Full respect for existing nuclear-weapon-free zones and establishing additional such zones leading to the 'whole world as a nuclear-weapon-free zone.';
The stakes involved in the elimination of nuclear weapons simply could not be higher.
You will no doubt be well aware, both from conversations with NGOs, scientists, and peer-reviewed scientific journals, that the use of even a tiny proportion of the world's nuclear arsenals (for example, 100 x 15-45Kiloton weapons as in an India-Pakistan conflict) could still cause casualties ranging from 50 -150 million (and according to some estimates much higher), and in addition would cause global climatic consequences that could result in worldwide famines.
The use, most likely out of miscalculation, panic, and malfunction (as has nearly taken place on an alarmingly large number of terrifying occasions) - of the 2000 much larger weapons kept on high alert by the US and Russia, could well end civilisation, and could threaten both human survival and the survival of most complex forms of life.
According again to the ICNND:
"The prospect that a catastrophic nuclear exchange could be triggered by a false alarm is fearful and not fanciful."
A recent article in the highly respected Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, on minimising the risk of human extinction prioritises the lowering of operational readiness of nuclear weapon systems and their elimination.
If the stakes in getting rid of nuclear weapons are as high as this, then what is required is a non-threatening, careful, and measured but determined and relatively swift path to global nuclear zero such as that you outline in the Five Point Plan. Grandstanding and confrontation on the one side, and empty rhetoric with no practical consequences in terms of budgets, nuclear doctrines and force postures, will not help. Practical steps - even modest ones - are what is needed.
The NPT Review Conference, while criticised by some as insufficient, nonetheless provides real progress - provided it is followed up by practical actions.
We affirm the statement of Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba recently in Hiroshima:
"The results of the NPT Review Conference held this past May testify to that beacon's guiding influence. The Final Document expresses the unanimous intent of the parties to seek the abolition of nuclear weapons; notes the valuable contribution of civil society; notes that a majority favours the establishment of timelines for the nuclear weapons abolition process, and highlights the need for a nuclear weapons convention or new legal framework. In doing so, it confirms that our future depends on taking the steps articulated by Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the more than 4,000 city members of Mayors for Peace, and the two-thirds of all Japanese municipalities that formally supported the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol.
That our cry of conscience, the voice of civil society yearning for a future free from nuclear weapons, was heard at the U.N. is due in large measure to the leadership of His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, who today has become the first U.N. Secretary-General to attend our Peace Memorial Ceremony. President Obama, the U.S. government, and the 1,200-member U.S. Conference of Mayors also wielded their powerful influence."
Your Excellency, there can hardly be an objective more vital to the continuation of life and what we call civilisation than the elimination of nuclear weapons. We are delighted that you have chosen to place it at the top of your political agenda, and civil society will work with you to ensure its achievement.
Please be assured of our very highest considerations,
Sergey Kolesnikov, Vappu Taipale, Ime John, Co-Presidents, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, (IPPNW), Boston Mass, USA,
Rene Wadlow, Association of World Citizens, Geneva,
Jonathan Granoff, President, Global Security Institute, NY,
Alyn Ware, Vice-President, Colin Archer, Secretary-General International Peace Bureau, Geneva,
Alfred L. Marder, President, International Association of Peace Messenger Cities,
Ambassador Mussie Hailu, United Religions Initiative for Africa, Ethiopia,
Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Board Chair, Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative,
Marie Dennis, Pax Christi International,
Steven Starr, Senior Scientist, PSR, Missouri USA,
Doug Mattern, President, Association of World Citizens, San Francisco USA,
Kathleen Sullivan, Program Director, Hibakusha Stories, New York,
Fred Duperrault, Democratic World Federalists, San Francisco, USA,
Marylia Kelley, Executive Director, Tri-Valley CARES, Livermore, Calif, USA,
Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) New York, USA,
David Krieger, Rick Wayman, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), Santa Barbara, Calif, USA,
Jane Milliken, Peace Action, Greenwich/Stamford, USA,
Lillian Rydell, President, Peace Action Manhattan,
James P. Noonan, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns,
David Hartsough, Director, PEACEWORKERS, San Francisco, CA USA
Rosemarie Pace, Pax Christi Metro New York,
Natalia Mironova, President, Movement for Nuclear Safety, Chelyabinsk, Russia,
Alexey Yablokov, International Social-Ecological Union, Moscow, Russia,
Sergey Kolesnikov, MP Russian Parliament
Dominique Lalanne, President, Abolition2000 Europe,
Dominique Lalanne, co-chair Armes Nucléaires STOP, France,
Jean-Marie Matagne, President, Action Des Citoyens pour le Desarmement Nucleaire (ACDN),
Andre Lariviere, Reseau Sortir Du Nucleaire,
Hans Lammerant, Vredesactie, Belgium,
Zoe Genot, Depute Federale, Ecolo, Brussells, Belg,
Lisa Pelletti Clark, Blessed Are the Peacemakers, Italian Disarmament Network, Italy
Reiner Braun INES (International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility), Berlin, Germany,
Xanthe Hall, IPPNW Germany,
Angelika Beer, Chair, Parliamentary Network for Conflict Prevention,
Uta Zapf, Bundestag Member, Berlin, Germany,
Ak Malten, Pro-Peaceful Energy Use, Netherlands,
George Farebrother, World Court Project, Sussex, UK,
Dave Webb, Convenor, GLOBENET,
Dave Webb, Vice-Chair, Kate Hudson, Convenor, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Lond, UK,
Peter Nicholls, Chair, Abolition2000 UK,
Eric Harley, West Midlands CND,
Colin Bex, Global Justice, UK,
Santiago Vilanova, Els Verds,-Alternativa Verda, (Green Alternative), Catalonia,
Maria Sotiropoulou, IPPNW Greece,
Melina Menelaou, International Secy, Cyprus Green Party, Nicosia, CYPRUS
Panos Trigazis, President of PADOP International Organisation and Globalisation Monitor
Katy Nicolatos, Member of the Initiative Committee of the Appeal for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons
Gideon Spiro, Israeli Committee for a Middle-East Free from Atomic, Biological, and Chemical Weapons
Gordon Edwards, President, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, (CCNR),
Stephen Staples, President, Rideau Insititute, Ottowa, Canada,
Dr Michael Dworkind, Physicians for Global Survival( PGS), Ottowa, Canada,
Libby Davies MP, Vancouver East,
Mauricio Lozano, ICAN El Salvador, Central America,
Hiromichi Umebayashi, Chair, Policy Council of Japan to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (POCJAPAN)
Hideyuki Ban, Co-Director, Citizens Nuclear Information Centre, (CNIC) Tokyo, Japan,
Ichiro Yuasa, President, Peace Depot, Japan,
Steve Leeper, Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, Hiroshima, Japan,
Shih Min Shih, Taiwan Agenda-21 Association, Taiwan,
Sushovan Dhar, Vikas Adhyayan Kendra, (VAK) Malad West (Mumbai), India,
Vijai K. Nair, Magoo Strategic Infotech, Delhi, India,
P. K. Sundaram, Pugwash India,
Prof R.K. Singh, School of Mines, Dhanbad, India,
Dr Ranjith Jayasekera, Vice President, Sri-Lankan Doctors for Peace and Development - Sri-Lanka
Prof. Anwar Fazal, Right Livelihood College, Penang, Malaysia,
Barney Richards, Peace Council Aotearoa NZ Inc.
David Wiseman, Humanitarian Affairs Convenor, Peace Council Aotearoa NZ Inc.
Gerald O'Brien, President of Honour, Peace Council Aotearoa NZ Inc.
Kate Dewes, Disarmament and Security Centre, Christchurch NZ,
Joanna Santa Barbara, IPPNW New Zealand,
Derek Wilson, Architects Against Nuclear Arms, Wellington, NZ,
Bob Rigg, fmr Chair, NZ National Consulative Committee on Disarmament,
John Hinchcliffe, Auckland University of Technology,
Bill Williams (MD) Medical Association for the Prevention of War, Australia,
Dr Marianne Hanson, Reader in International relations, University of Queensland,
Irene Gale, Australian Peace Council, Adelaide, SA,
Nick Deane, Marrickville Peace Group, Marrickville NSW,
Pauline Mitchell, Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament (CICD) Melbourne,
John Hallam, PND Nuclear Flashpoints
Surry Hills, NSW Australia,