WILPF STATEMENT ON THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE NUCLEAR BOMBINGS OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI

We of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom thank Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and Mayor Iccho Itoh for their initiatives in developing the Mayors' for Peace Campaign, and for their courageous and persistent efforts to move the world forward toward abolition of nuclear weapons.

WILPF will continue to work closely with the Mayors' campaign, and with NGOs and the large majority of people in all nations seeking global abolition of nuclear weapons. We believe nuclear weapons abolition is inevitable, and is in the interests of all - even of those now insanely expanding their nuclear arsenals.

Since our beginnings 90 years ago, we in WILPF have been working to bring an end to war, and to develop the institutions and cultures of peace. True, our WILPF foremothers, who in most countries did not yet have the vote in 1915, failed to stop the horrors of the first World War, and, though they worked tirelessly to develop and support the League of Nations and the World Court, they failed again to stop the even greater horrors of World War II. But at the same time we, and you, have been continuously building the institutions of peace including the UN and its body of international law, that can help us achieve our goals.

The United Nations also had its beginnings 60 years ago, in the same time period that nuclear weapons became the greatest threat to progress on our way to safer societies for all. WILPF has been involved at your sides during these sixty years in steadily building the United Nations and the body of international law, as well as in the struggle to abolish these weapons from the world's arsenals

WILPF has welcomed Article 9 in the Japanese constitution and the renunciation of war that should, in some form, be in every national constitution. Indeed, all nations of the world which have ratified the UN Charter and the network of human rights and disarmament treaties that have developed from it over the last 60 years, have actually integrated the growing body of peace law into their national systems. We have progressed a long way on the road to the world most of us really want.

Reaching Critical Will is an initiative of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom that started in 1999 with a single focus: to increase the quality and quantity of non-governmental organizations in preparation for and participation in the 2000 Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Many of the international NGO representatives here will be familiar with our work since then at NPT Preparatory Conferences and at the two major NPT Review Conferences in 2000 and in 2005.

We. like most of you, welcomed the thirteen practical steps toward abolition of nuclear weapons which 187 nations party to the treaty all agreed to take at the 2000 NPT Review. Those steps gave nations and citizens concrete challenges, and goals toward which to work.

WILPF tracked the progress of nations in meeting these challenges and goals. For instance, by 2000 Britain, France, Russia and China had already taken the first step and ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Only the US failed to ratify the treaty, and in 2001 a new President announced the U.S. had no intention of doing so, and to the contrary he began submitting military budgets with funding for possible resumption of nuclear testing and for development of new nuclear weapons in seeming contradiction of the terms of the NPT. He withdrew the United States from the ABM treaty, one of the foundation treaties in the nuclear disarmament complex. He and his Administration put forward policies of pre-emptive or preventive war which defy the United Nations Charter itself. He announced a policy of nuclear first strike, even against non-nuclear weapons nations, and the Pentagon aggressively pursued missile defense and space weaponry in preparation for possible future nuclear war in Asia or the Middle East.

Women in our US Section well understand their special responsibility to restrain U.S. leaders consumed by military madness, and to develop alternative policies in their own nation. This year they were deeply ashamed when the US became the basic obstacle to progress at the NPT. They report some positive progress in the U.S. Congress, and polls show 70% of U.S. citizens believe no nation, including their own, should possess nuclear weapons. But they know they have much work ahead and a long way to go.

Women in our other national Sections, throughout the world, continue to work for nuclear abolition from within their own countries - in 14 nations of the European Union, 10 in Latin America, and 12 other Sections in Africa, Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. Many national leaders in those countries came through with positive proposals in the 2005 review conference including the Middle Powers initiative, support for a Middle East nuclear free zone, and for negotiation of a Convention banning nuclear weapons. Others have put forward proposals on banning Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, missile defense and weapons in space. We thank and support all of you who are involved in this process. We must not give up, and work to keep our governments on the right paths everywhere.

Together let us continue moving forward, enlisting more and more of our Mayors and our communities in this campaign, until at last these weapons are abolished from the earth.

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