Parliamentarians take action on the 70th anniversary of first nuclear bombings

Nagasaki Commemoration Ceremony at the Peace Park on August 9

Parliamentarians commemorate August 6 and August 9, the 70th anniversaries of the nuclear bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Parliamentarians around the world took action on August 6 and August 9 to commemorate the 70th anniversaries of the nuclear bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

The main global action of PNND was the release of a Joint Statement of Religious Leaders, Mayors and Parliamentarians for a nuclear-weapon-free world. The statement was adopted in Hiroshima on August 6 at a high-level meeting of leaders from PNND, Religions for Peace and Mayors for Peace.

Global Zero 'Tour around the Bomb' in New Delhi. Caption

PNND Council Members (parliamentarians) from 22 countries have endorsed the statement (Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Marshall Islands, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom).

The statement is now being circulated to legislators and religious leaders world-wide for additional endorsement. It will be presented to the United Nations on September 26, the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, in order to support UN initiatives and processes for complete nuclear disarmament.

To endorse the statement please contact alyn@pnnd.org.  For more information see A Nuclear-Weapon-Free World Our Common Good: Legislators and religious leaders join forces for nuclear abolition.

Some national actions:

In Australia, Senator Lisa Singh the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, gave a strong Senate Adjournment Speech commemorating the 70th anniversaries, highlighting the environmental and humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and supporting a global treaty to abolish nuclear weapons. On August 13, she  introduced a draft motion on the above.

In Canada, PNND Co-President Paul Dewar was the keynote speaker for Ground Zero to Global Zero: Hope After 70 Years, the commemoration event in Toronto organised by the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Day Coalition.

In Chile, PNND Member Senator Juan Pablo Letelier and 21 other senators submitted a resolution to the Senate: a) commemorating the anniversary, b) condemning the use of nuclear weapons as a violation of international humanitarian law, c) calling for the peaceful resolution of conflicts and d) supporting the United Nations. 

Erkki Tuomioja MP speaking at the August 6 commemoration event in Helsinki. Caption

In Costa Rica, the National Assembly held a minute of silence and adopted a short motion on August 4 to commemorate the 70th anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. The motion and minute’s silence had been requested by PNND Council Member Natalia Diaz Quintana.

In Finland, Erkki Tuomioja MP (former foreign minister) was the keynote speaker at an August 6 commemoration event organised by the Peace Union of Finland, IPPNW Finland and ICAN Finland.  MP Pekka Haavisto MP and Johanna Ojala-Niemelä MP participated in other events in Finland on August 6.

In France, Denis Baupin, vice-president of the National Assembly, PNND member attended and supported a nuclear abolition fast in Paris organised as part of the International Fast for the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima-Nagasaki. PNND France Coordinator Jean-Marie Collin was interviewed on France Inter on the topic Hiroshima c'est un changement de dimension dans la manière dont l'homme a changé la guerre - Hiroshima (the nuclear bomb) is a new dimension that changed the nature of war.

 In India, Global Zero students organised a ‘Tour around the Bomb’ on August 9 in New Delhi. They walked around the circumference of the area in New Delhi that would be destroyed should a ‘small’ nuclear weapon be detonated in the centre. PNND Co-President Mani Shankar Aiyar, who is also a member of Global Zero, welcomed the walkers to his residence for a meeting following the event.

In Mexico, Senadora Laura Angélica Rojas Hernández, PNND Council Member and President of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Organizations, opened an exhibition in the Senate of photographs from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Senator Laura Laura Angélica Rojas Hernández opening the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Photo Exhibition in the Mexican Senate Caption

In New Zealand, the Parliament adopted a motion submitted by the Hon Phil Goff, Chair of PNND New Zealand. The motion says:
‘That this House, on the 70th anniversary of the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, calls on the nuclear weapon States to replace ongoing expenditure of more than $100 billion a year on their nuclear weapons arsenals with a programme to eliminate nuclear weapons, in accord with their obligations under article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.’

In Scotland, PNND Co-President Bill Kidd submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament entitled 70 Years is More than Enough, No More Nuclear Weapons. The motion, currently supported by 13 other members of the Scottish Parliament, notes that ‘over 16,000 nuclear weapons remain in the world’s arsenals, at a cost of US $100 billion annually; believes that this money could be used instead to reverse climate change, eliminate poverty and address other pressing social and economic needs, and agrees with the UN Secretary General's description of the abolition of nuclear weapons as "a common good of the highest order".

Jeremy Corbyn speaking in London on scrapping UK nuclear weapons.  Caption

In Turkey, PNND Council member Aytuğ Atıcı submitted a paper to the Turkish Parliament on August 6 commemorating the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs and proposing the establishment of a parliamentary committee to consider the risks of nuclear power plants. On August 9, Mr Atici joined anti-nuclear campaigners at the nuclear power plant construction site in Mersin Turkey, where they read testimonies from victims of Nagasaki nuclear bombs.

In the United Kingdom, PNND Council Member Jeremy Corbyn was the keynote speaker at a commemoration event held in London's Tavistock Square and organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). Mr Corbyn, who is the front-runner for leadership of the Labour Party, called for the UK to ‘ditch its nuclear weapons’ as ‘Security is not the ability to threaten and destroy your neighbour. Security is when you are able to get on with your neighbour.’ (See ‘Ditching nuclear weapons – speech by Jeremy Corbyn’, Huffington Post, August 6, 2015).

Social media and civil society actions

Parliamentarians also joined some of the international social media actions, such as Global Zero Thunderclap, and actions and events in their own countries. Many of these are listed on the Nuclear Free Future Month map of events. A Call to Commemorate the 70 year anniversary, and an Action Guide for events were provided by Peace and Planet, a global mobilization for a nuclear-free, peaceful, just, and sustainable world.