Between November 4 and 14, 2019, Peace Boat hosted a series of events with local partners as part of the “Global Voyage for a Nuclear-Free World: Peace Boat Hibakusha Project” during the European leg of its 102nd Global Voyage. Now in its eleventh year, this project invites Hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to share their firsthand account of the atrocities of nuclear weapons and call for their abolition. In addition to raising citizen awareness of the humanitarian impact of such weapons, the Hibakusha Project actively promotes the signature and ratification of the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The 102nd voyage’s instalment of this project was privileged to welcome Ms Sakashita Noriko, a Hibakusha from Hiroshima, as its participating member.
While in Andorra, Ms Sakashita met Ms Maria Ubach Font, Andorra's Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Ms Sakashita joined the project on November 4 in Andorra, where she shared her testimony with Andorran Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Maria Ubach Font. She then boarded the Ocean Dream, Peace Boat’s vessel, in Barcelona to read her poem “Sono Asa no Inochi” (translated as “Life on That Day”) and attend a screening of “The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons,” a film documenting ICAN’s campaign for the signing and ratification of the TPNW.
Barcelona's on board event featured a screening of documentary “The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons.”
While on board, Ms Sakashita had the opportunity to speak directly with youth, critical participants in the movement to abolish nuclear weapons. A private session was held with students from Tübingen University’s Master’s in Peace Research and International Relations programme, on board for the eighth iteration of their partnership programme with Peace Boat. Later, Ms Sakashita delivered her testimony and call to action to high school students and youth coalition members in Marseilles and Monaco with the support of ICAN France and its affiliates.
In her meeting with Monaco's Prince Albert II, Ms Sakashita called on Monaco to sign and ratify the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Ms Sakashita’s tour included an audience with HSH Prince Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, at his official residence. Following Ms Sakashita's testimony, Peace Boat's founder and director Yoshioka Tetsuya and ICAN France's Jean-Marie Collin both spoke about the significance of the TPNW. The program continued with an intensive day of events in Greece with longtime Greek partner Panos Trigazis of PADOP (Observatory of International Organisations and Globalisation), Maria Sotiropouou, a central member of IPPNW Greece and an active campaigner for ICAN, and World Without War and Violence’s Nikos Stergiou. Departing the ship in Piraeus, Ms Sakashita traveled with Peace Boat staff members to Nicosia, Cyprus for meetings with AKEL, Cyprus’ largest opposition party, the Cyprus Peace Council, and Cyprus Green Action, whose representatives she met at community centre Home for Cooperation, located in Nicosia’s United Nations Buffer Zone.
Attendees gathered for a group photo after Piraeus, Greece's evening event co-presented with World Without War and Violence Greece.
Throughout all six cities of her European programme, Ms Sakashita was steadfast in her call for government officials to take decisive action and for local partners to continue to pressure their governments to sign and ratify the TPNW without delay. With 34 out of the required 50 ratifications, the treaty is more than two-thirds of its way towards early entry-into-force. Ms Sakashita hopes her efforts will contribute to the enactment of this important treaty and signal the dawn of a nuclear-free world.
The final event of Ms Sakashita's programme was held with member of Cyprus Green Action at the Home for Cooperation, a community centre situated in Nicosia`s United Nations Buffer Zone.