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Piraeus Appeal

A Nuclear Free World and a Nuclear Free Europe

63 years have passed since the nuclear bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which must be remembered for the excruciating human agony and devastating destruction of a kind never seen before. The “Global Voyage for a Nuclear-Free World – Peace Boat Hibakusha Project” has brought 102 Hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings) to Piraeus, Greece as part of the worldwide voyage to share their testimonies and the universal message of the Hibakusha that nuclear weapons must be abolished in order to never again allow their use. To this end, we join the global civil society call for a world free from nuclear weapons, underpinned by a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

As we arrive at the first European port for our triparound the Globe, we jointly denounce with Greek peace champions, NGOs and public figures the so-called “anti-missile shield” and call for a nuclear-free Europe.  

The Hibakusha's appeal for “No more Hibakusha, No more Hiroshima/Nagasaki, No more Wars” embodies the spirit of Article 9 of the Japanese Peace Constitution, which was created in the aftermath of the horrible suffering and devastation caused by the nuclear bombings, as well as regret over Japan's previous military aggression.  

Worldwide, the call from both civil society and world leaders for a world free from nuclear weapons is becoming stronger. The voices of the Hibakusha and the consensus regarding the need of a total abolition of all nuclear weapons have been demonstrated in the 1996 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) declaring the illegality of nuclear weapons.  

It is now time to turn the tide away from nuclear dependence, and instead towards nuclear abolition and a peaceful world.  

We demand from the governments of the world to:   
- Revive the disarmament process now   
- Make efforts toward the success of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, and ensure that European nuclear weapon states follow their disarmament obligations under Article 9 of the NPT.  Furthermore, we emphasise that the role of the NPT should not be relegated to perpetuating the status and current rights of nuclear-weapon states – it must act as a universal step towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons. 
- To this end, start negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention immediately. The need for a move to total abolition of nuclear weapons is reflected in recent initiatives such as the newly launched Australia-Japan led International Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Commission. 
- Reject the idea of nuclear deterrence and the “first-use” of nuclear weapons.    

We call for the strengthening of efforts of civil society which are imperative for creating a peaceful and nuclear weapon free future. We thus call for solidarity between civil society in Japan, Greece and globally, for actions including:   
- Promoting peace and disarmament education, including passing on the experiences of the Hibakusha to current and future generations  
-  Supporting and expanding the network of Mayors for Peace, and promoting its “Hiroshima Nagasaki Protocol” for achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world by the year 2020  
- Participating in and strengthening international civil society networks for disarmament and conflict prevention, such as the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC)   
- Continuing ongoing international civil society action for the universalisation of the non-violent principles of Article 9 of the Japanese Peace Constitution. 

We emphasise that militarisation has an adverse effect on development. Diversion of resources from the military to human development is imperative, at a time of deep economic, environmental and food crisis leading to more poverty and hunger.  

The universal message of the Hibakusha calling for nuclear abolition is more timely today. We hereby state our determination to transform the tragic experience of the Hibakusha and their strong hopes for peace into concrete, political action towards total nuclear abolition and the creation of peace without force as the legacy of the Hibakusha and this project for the peaceful, nuclear-free future of our world.      

Piraeus, Greece 14 October, 2008

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