UN Secretary General to Join International Peace Movement Conference to Abolish Nuclear Weapons on Eve of NPT Review Conference

For Immediate Release

Peace and Nuclear Abolition Organizations
Contact: 

Judith Le Blanc: Peace Action (w) 646-723-0982
Joseph Gerson: American Friends Service Committee (w) 617-661-6130 ext. 119
Jackie Cabasso: Western States Legal Foundation

UN Secretary General to Join International Peace Movement Conference to Abolish Nuclear Weapons on Eve of NPT Review Conference

Ban Ki-Moon to Speak: Riverside Church, New York City, 7 p.m. May 1, 2010

WASHINGTON - U.S. peace movement leaders announced today that U.N. Secretary General
Ban Ki-Moon will address an international conference of leading peace,
justice and environmental activists, to be held April 30-May 1 at the
Riverside Church in New York City. The conference and related events are
being organized on the eve of this May's Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. The Secretary General will speak on
Saturday evening, May 1.

The conference, "For a Nuclear Free, Peaceful, Just and Sustainable
World" has been organized by a network of 25 leading peace and nuclear
weapons abolition organizations in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Israel.
 Speaking for the network Judith LeBlanc, Field Organizer for Peace
Action said "One thousand leading activists and scholars from
communities across the U.S. and more than 20 nations will participate in
the conference. We need more than limited arms control agreements that
do not adequately address the dangers of nuclear catastrophes posed by
the nuclear powers. We are urging", she explained, "that the critically
important Review Conference conclude with a commitment to begin
negotiations on a treaty to completely eliminate all nuclear weapons, as
provided for by the Non-Proliferation Treaty."

Dr. Joseph Gerson, Disarmament Director for the American Friends Service
Committee said, "Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon's decision to join us is
signaling the critical importance of popular action to move governments
to do what they must do: to abolish nuclear weapons." He continued,
"Even when and if the recently negotiated New START Treaty is ratified
and implemented, the U.S. and Russia will have more than 3,000
thermonuclear warheads with the destructive capability of roughly 60,000
Hiroshima A-Bombs on hair trigger alert."

Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which went into effect in
1970, requires the five original nuclear powers to begin "good faith
negotiations" for the complete elimination of their nuclear arsenals.
Such negotiations have never been initiated. Nuclear armed states,
India, Israel and Pakistan, remain outside the Treaty.

Jackie Cabasso, Executive Director of the Western States Legal
Foundation said, "In addition to the immediate dangers posed by the
world's nuclear weapons, the hypocritical refusal by the U.S. and other
nuclear powers to fulfill their part of the NPT bargain, jeopardizes the
Treaty as a whole. It encourages the nuclear weapons proliferation
President Obama says he is working to prevent. "Ban Ki-Moon," she
continued "understands that the world is at a turning point. His ‘Five
Point Plan,' like our ‘Disarm Now!' Call to Action, urges the nuclear
powers to finally begin their promised ‘good faith negotiations' for
nuclear weapons abolition."

The Disarm Now! Call to Action places the elimination of nuclear weapons
in a broader context.  It recognizes that, "The eradication of these
weapons will not only end the threat of global  annihilation and [the]
hierarchy of terror, but it will unlock enormous resources to address
climate change and mass poverty, serve as the leading edge of the global
trend towards demilitarisation, and make advances in other areas of
human aspiration possible." The Call has been endorsed by nearly 300
local, national and international organizations in 32 countries, from
every continent.

The network includes Peace Action, the American Friends Service
Committee, and Western States Legal Foundation (U.S.), the Campaign for
Nuclear Disarmament (Britain,) Le Mouvement de la Paix (France,)
International Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (Germany,) the Japan Council
against A- and H-Bomb, Gensuikyo (Japan), and the Emil Touma Institute
for Palestinian and Israeli Studies (Israel).

Other conference speakers include Terumi Tanaka, a Hiroshima A-Bomb
Survivor, Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima and President of Mayors
for Peace, Natalia Mironova of the Institute for Public Policy and Law
in Russia, Professor Zia Mian of Princeton University, Dr. John
Burroughs of the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear
Arms, Socorro Gomes of Cebrapaz  in Brazil and the World Peace Council,
Tomas Magnusson of the International Peace Bureau, Jose Ramos Horta,
Nobel Peace Laureate and President of East Timor (invited) and others.
Two dozen workshops will address interrelated issues of nuclear
abolition, peace, environment/health and economic justice.

The network has organized the international conference; the
"International Day of Action for a Nuclear Free World," the centerpiece
of which will be a rally, march and festival in Manhattan, May 2
starting at Times Square at 2:00 PM; and the presentation to the Chair
of the NPT Review Conference of millions of petition signatures urging
that negotiations to eliminate the world's nuclear arsenals begin
without further delay.

For more information: www.peaceandjusticenow.org

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