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Dec 20, 2010 - Peace Boat Participates in the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Hiroshima Calling for Nuclear Weapon Abolition
Nobel Peace Laureates line the stage, calling for disarmament and the abolition of all nuclear arms to create a more sustainable future.
On November 12-14 2010, the 11th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates took place in Hiroshima, Japan. With this year marking the 65th anniversary of the dropping of the Atomic bombs on the two Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Hiroshima Mayor Akiba Tadatoshi invited Nobel Peace Laureates to discuss nuclear weapons under the theme "The Legacy of Hiroshima: a World Without Nuclear Weapons."

Among the attendees figured former South African President Willem De Klerk, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Northern Irish peace activist and Global Article 9 Campaign supporter Mairead Corrigan Maguire, US leader of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines Jody Williams, Iranian human rights campaigner Shirin Ebadi, former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed El Baradei, as well as representatives from Laureate organizations including the United Nations, Amnesty International, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the International Peace Bureau, Medecins sans Frontieres, the International Committee of the Red Cross and more. Peace Boat was also invited to join these organisations at the conference.

On the first night of the Nobel Peace Summit, participants held a candle action at the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima.
The conference focused on the urgent need for the abolition of nuclear weapons, and the contribution that disarmament could make for development, the reduction of poverty and the creation of a more peaceful and sustainable society. Laureates including Mairead Corrigan Maguire praised Japan for being a "great model", as thanks to its peace constitution it "didn't waste money on nuclear weapons and war. It took money for education and health. Real human security is seeing that people can live really human lives. Other countries put money into war instead of into its own citizens." Shirin Ebadi deplored how "resources that should be used for human needs are being use on Weapons of Mass Destruction." She gave the striking examples of "North Korea, which has nuclear weapons but is not even able to feed its people... [and] India, which possesses nuclear weapons but [where] many people are born on the streets, marry on the streets and die on the streets."

Shirin Ebadi made concrete proposals for addressing what she calls a "legal vacuum" and made a case for an international convention on the subject. A legal instrument would establish rules such as making sure a country's military budget does not exceed the combination of its national budget allocations to health and education. If it does, the state should not be able to receive foreign aid in any form. Likewise, countries that continue building their army should not have their debt forgiven.

Peace Boat Co-founder and Director Yoshioka Tatsuya, speaks at the Summit, highlighting the importance of the Hibakushas' testimonies for creating a nuclear free world.
Building on the significance of being in Hiroshima, the Summit issued a Final Declaration calling for nuclear weapons to be regarded "as a crime against humanity" for they are "unique in their destructive power, in the unspeakable human suffering they cause, in the impossibility of controlling their effects in space and time, in the risks of escalation they create, and in the threat they pose to the environment, to future generations, and indeed to the survival of humanity." Nuclear weapons must be outlawed and abolished, concluded the document, as it "call[ed] upon heads of government, parliaments, mayors and citizens to join ... in affirming that the use of nuclear weapons is immoral and illegal."

The declaration further paid tribute to "the courage and suffering of the Hibakusha ... and honour[ed] those that have dedicated their lives to teaching the rest of the world about the horrors of nuclear war." Since 2008, Peace Boat has been bringing Hibakusha around the world to share their testimony of the reality of nuclear weapons, and the contemporary significance of their experiences under the "Global Voyages for a Nuclear- Free World: Peace Boat Hibakusha Project". "The time left for Hibakusha to directly share their experiences is very limited. Now is the time for action." With these words Yoshioka Tatsuya, Co-Founder and Director of Peace Boat announced the Horizon 2012 project on 12 November, during the afternoon session of the Summit. "By contributing to a Middle East Nuclear-Weapons Free Zone, we want to increase the momentum for a Nuclear-Weapons Free Zone here in Northeast Asia also", he added.

Peace Boat launches "HORIZON 2012", a project that aims to generate civil society support for the realisation of a United Nations-backed international conference on the establishment of a NWFZ in the Middle East.
Horizon 2012 will bring Hibakusha throughout the Middle East in order to build momentum for a NWFZ in the Middle East. The project aims to generate civil society support for the realisation of a United Nations-backed international conference on the establishment of a NWFZ in the Middle East, as decided by the States party to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May 2010. In order to do so, Horizon 2012 will count on the power of Hibakusha testimonies.

This example of disarmament and civil society action echoes the pledge made by all Nobel Peace Laureates present at the summit "to work for a future committed to peace, justice and security without nuclear weapons and war."

"Efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons must proceed along with measures to strengthen international law, demilitarize international relations and political thinking and to address human and security needs," states the Summit's Final Declaration.

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