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Dispatches from Nagasaki No.20

Global High-level Movement Conference on Nuclear Weapons in Nagasaki

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement co-hosted the Global High-level Movement Conference on Nuclear Weapons in Nagasaki, over a three-day period from April 24 to April 26, 2017. Co-hosted with the Japan Red Cross Society (JRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the event was participated in by the representatives of organizations from 35 nations, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica (who is the new president of the United Nations Conference to negotiate a nuclear weapon ban), and other diplomats involved in the negotiations.

The Nagasaki conference adopted “the Nagasaki Declaration,” under the title of “Never again: Nagasaki must be the last atomic bombing.”  The Nagasaki Action Plan was also formulated in order to back-up the efforts to realize a nuclear-weapons-ban treaty, and it is scheduled that the plan will be formally adopted at the next Council of Delegates of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which will be held in Antalya, Turkey, in November this year.

The Nagasaki Declaration demanded the participation of all nations in the United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination, which was scheduled to be held in New York in June and July this year, with the words: “All nations have a responsibility to their populations and to future generations to faithfully use this opportunity to shape the course of history.” Furthermore, it urged that: “We are standing at the brink of what will be the turning point in efforts to end the era of nuclear weapons. By negotiating and adopting a treaty that recognizes the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and contains a clear and unambiguous prohibition, States have the opportunity to ensure that Nagasaki is the last place in history to have suffered the effects of an atomic bombing.”
(http://www.jrc.or.jp/information/170426_004754.html (in Japanese))

The activities guidelines of the Action Plan aim to achieve the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons over the next four years. The rough draft prepared in Nagasaki included the following three goals:  1) the Red Cross societies in each nation will enter into dialog with their respective governments and seek to encourage their participation in the nuclear prohibition negotiations; 2) the Red Cross societies will play a role of encouraging momentum towards the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-ban treaty, and 3) support will be provided to enhance the perception of young people concerning nuclear weapons, and activities concerning the abolition of nuclear weapons involving young people.
(digital.asahi.com (in Japanese))

I myself also had an opportunity to give a lecture at the Conference. Ever since the 20th century The Red Cross has made huge achievements in contributing to the enactment of international humanitarian legislation. As a player in the movement for the abolition of nuclear weapons too, it has resolutely and boldly argued from a humanitarian stance. Bringing together the leaders of The Red Cross in Nagasaki, the Conference was a precious forum, and the following is what I had to say.

Firstly, I explained that all the hibakusha, the relics remaining on the bombing site and all the people who still live their daily lives there represent a global power that sends out an endless appeal for the end of nuclear weapons to the rest of the world. Secondly, because of this, a nuclear-weapons-ban treaty should be worded either in its main text or related documents in a manner that encourages political leaders and those drafting or making policies to visit the sites of the atomic bombings. Finally, I suggested that even if the Japanese government is yet to participate in the treaty at the signatory stage, the signing ceremony should be held in Nagasaki. The venue was full of personnel from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement who nodded in agreement as I spoke. And seated in the very back row was none other than Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez herself.

Students belonging to the Nagasaki Youth Delegation whose activities are supported by the PCU Nagasaki Council for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (PCU-NC), which was established by Nagasaki Prefecture, Nagasaki City and Nagasaki University, were also present at the venue to help answer questions from participants, listening to and dealing with queries addressed to them in a variety of English accents. I thought that they had taken on a tough job, but they drew a warm round of applause from all those assembled. Even after the end of the conference the students found themselves surrounded by senior figures from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

On the day after the conference had finished, totally out of coincidence many of the guests at the conference were lined up next to me on the aircraft bound for Tokyo. They told me what a valuable experience their visit to Nagasaki had been. At the press conference held on the last day of the conference, Kathleen Lawand, legal advisor to the International Committee of the Red Cross said: “The conference was held at the time of the historic turning point of a nuclear-weapons-ban treaty, with the attendance of the representatives of many nations. It was a truly significant event.” It was no surprise that she left Nagasaki with the comment that “This was a visit that will remain deeply etched on my memory.”

 

国際赤十字・赤新月運動が長崎で国際会議

国際赤十字・赤新月運動が4月24日から26日の3日間、核兵器の禁止と廃絶に関する国際会議を長崎市内で開いた。主催は日本赤十字社と赤十字国際委員会(ICRC)で、35カ国の各国組織代表に加え、国連での核兵器禁止条約交渉会議議長国コスタリカのホワイト大使ら、交渉にあたる外交官らも参加した。

会議では、「二度と繰り返してはならない:長崎を核兵器が使用された最後の地に」と題された「長崎宣言」を採択した。禁止条約の実現を後押しする「長崎行動計画」(案)も策定し、11月にトルコで開催される国際赤十字・赤新月運動代表者会議で正式に採択される予定だ。

長崎宣言は、今年6、7月に行われる次の禁止条約交渉会議に、「自国民のため、そして次世代のため、この先の歴史を形作るチャンスを誠実に活かす責任があります」として、すべての国の交渉への参加を求めた。そのうえで、「核兵器の時代に終止符を打てるかどうかの瀬戸際に私たちは立っています。壊滅的な人道的被害を認識し、明確で曖昧さのない禁止を謳った条約が話し合われ、採択されることで、各国は長崎を原爆投下によって核被害を受けた歴史上最後の地とできるのです」と訴えている。(http://www.jrc.or.jp/information/170426_004754.html)

行動計画は今後4年間の核兵器の禁止と廃絶に向けた活動方針となる。長崎でまとめられた草案では、①各国の赤十字がそれぞれの政府と対話し、禁止条約の交渉への参加を促す、②条約の成立に向けた動きを推し進める役割を果たしていく、③青少年に対する核兵器をめぐる意識の向上や、核兵器廃絶に関する青少年の活動の支援していく、ことなどが盛り込まれた。(digital.asahi.com)

私(長崎大学核兵器廃絶研究センター・吉田文彦)もこの会議で講演の機会を得た。赤十字は20世紀末以来、さまざまな国際人道法の制定に貢献してきた大きな功績がある。核廃絶に向けた運動でも、積極果敢に人道主義からの論陣を張ってきた。その赤十字の重鎮たちが長崎に集ってくれた、貴重な場だった。そこで次のようなことを話した。

第一に、被爆者の皆さん、被爆地に残る遺産、そして被爆地で暮らす人々は、核廃絶を世界に発信し続けるグローバルパワーであること。第二に、(第一のようなこと)であるがゆえに、政治指導者や政策立案・決定者たちによる被爆地訪問を促す文言を、核兵器禁止条約(本文または関連文書)に盛り込むこと、である。さらに、仮に日本がこの条約に参加していない段階であっても、長崎で条約の署名式典を開催してはどうかと提案してみた。会場では、うなずいてくれる国際赤十字・赤新月の方々が大勢いた。最後列には、ホワイト大使の姿もあった。

「核兵器廃絶長崎連絡協議会」(長崎県、長崎市、長崎大学の3者で構成)が支援する「ナガサキ・ユース代表団」の学生たちも、会場での質疑応答に参加してくれた。いくつもの異なるアクセントに耳を傾けながらの英語でのやりとり。大変だったかと思うが、会場からは多くの拍手が送られた。終了後も何人もの各国赤十字・赤新月の幹部が学生たちを取り囲んでいた。

閉会の翌日。長崎から東京に向かう飛行機が、偶然、一行と一緒だった。「今回の長崎訪問はとても貴重な体験になった」と語りかけてくれた。閉会日の記者会見で、「核兵器禁止条約という歴史の転換点になる時期に開かれ、各国の代表が集まり多くのことを合意した。大きな意義があった」と話した、ICRCのキャスリーン・ラワンド法務局武器関連部長。やはり、「強く印象に残る訪問だった」との言葉を残して、長崎を後にして行った。

 

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