Global movement travels to New York for Peace & Planet actions
NEW YORK, NY (April 14, 2015) -- On the eve of the 5-year Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, thousands of people from around the globe will gather in New York City April 24-26 to demand a nuclear-free, peaceful, just and sustainable world. Activists, scholars, and students with anti-nuclear, peace, and environmental justice movements will call on the NPT Review Conference meeting at the United Nations to mandate the commencement of “good faith negotiations” for the complete elimination of the world’s nuclear arsenals, as required by the Treaty.
Peace and Planet events will kick off with an international conference April 24-25 at the historic Cooper Union, featuring speakers from more than a dozen countries. On April 26, a mass rally will take place in Union Square, followed by a march to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza where millions of petition signatures will be presented to UN and NPT officials. The rally will launch a “Global Wave,” with participants symbolically waving goodbye to nuclear weapons. The Global Wave will travel west, by time zone, with public events scheduled in Papeete, Manila, Amman, Bethlehem, Stockholm, Paris, London, Sao Paulo and points in-between. An Interfaith Service will precede the rally. For a full calendar of events and speakers, see http://www.peaceandplanet.org/
Joseph Gerson, Disarmament Coordinator at the American Friends Service Committee and one of the events’ lead organizers, is working with activists from Tokyo to Toronto and Berlin to Brazil. “More than a thousand Japanese activists, including 50 Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bomb survivors, will be joining us in this 70th anniversary year of the U.S. atomic bombings. Their suitcases will be filled with 7,000,000 petition signatures calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.”
In the U.S., peace walks originating in Tennessee, at the Oak Ridge nuclear weapons production facility, California and New England, will converge in New York, with groups journeying on peace trains from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut, and coming on buses from as far away as Chicago and Massachusetts. A “Bike for Peace” ride from Washington, DC, led by a Norwegian Mayor and an Olympic bicyclist from Kazakhstan will arrive in New York City on April 24 to join the mobilization.
Organizers say nuclear disarmament is now more important than ever. “We applaud the recent agreement between the U.S. and Iran, but if we are to prevent nuclear calamity, the U.S. and the other nuclear armed nations must fulfill their part of the NPT bargain by ending the era of trillion dollar arms races which drive nuclear weapons proliferation” said Kevin Martin, Executive Director of Peace Action. “As we see with the nuclear saber rattling over Ukraine, nuclear weapons threaten human survival as they did throughout the Cold War. Endless wars abroad and growing nuclear weapons budgets are reflected in militarism at home, environmental degradation globally, and economic and racial inequality.”
The fundamental NPT bargain was that states not possessing nuclear weapons foreswore ever obtaining them. In exchange, nuclear-armed parties committed in Article VI to undertake good faith negotiations for their complete elimination. The NPT entered into force 45 years ago and there are no negotiations on the horizon. The recent series of International Conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons has shown that the vast majority of the world’s nations are outraged by the failure of the nuclear powers to fulfill their commitments to implement Article VI.
Peace and Planet co-organizer Jackie Cabasso of Western States Legal Foundation and United for Peace and Justice, explained, “The U.S. plans to spend a trillion dollars to modernize its nuclear weapons arsenal and infrastructure. This means that contrary to President Obama’s pledge in Prague, preparations for nuclear annihilation will remain the cornerstone of U.S. policy throughout the 21st century. This is unacceptable and unsustainable. We say: Yes to a Nuclear-Free World! Yes to Nonviolence! Yes to Economic Justice and Environmental Sustainability! And Yes to Peace!”
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.