The Nihon Hidankyo, the Japanese nationwide organization of Hibakusha - survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and Bikini H-bomb test - have been nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker peace and justice organization.
Since its founding in 1956, Nihon Hidankyo members have bravely told and retold their searing stories to diplomats, political and military leaders, and the general public as they work to abolish nuclear weapons. Their choice to reject revenge and work for a future of hope inspired their nomination.
“As the only humans to have experienced the devastating effects of mankind’s use of atomic bombs, the Hibakusha are uniquely able to let their lives speak. And they have done so with courage and the persuasive moral authority that comes from a lifetime of suffering,” wrote Shan Cretin, the AFSC’s general secretary, in the November 7, 2010 nomination letter to the Nobel Institute.
In 1947, AFSC was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of all Quakers who provided humanitarian relief after World Wars I and II. As a Nobel Peace Laureate, AFSC has the opportunity to nominate worthy groups or individuals for the prize.
AFSC first nominated Nihon Hidankyo for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. Today, the reasons to recognize the organization are more compelling, as millions worldwide have recently advocated for a nuclear-free future. Both the recent Nobel laureate President Obama and the international community at the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference have joined the Hibakusha’s call for a world completely free of nuclear weapons. These hopeful signs signal growing acceptance of the Hibakusha’s proclamation that “human beings and nuclear weapons cannot co-exist.”
AFSC’s work to end nuclear weapons began literally days after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. See more resources on the work to abolish nuclear weapons.