Report of Workshop on Solidarity with Hibakushas & Nuclear Victims
of the World
The workshop took place on 3rd March 2004 from 2.30PM to 6.00PM
in the conference hall of Astor Plaza. Kazuto Hara, Le Chi Thanh,
Hosegawa Hidetoshi and Lalit Surjan chaired it. In all 21 delegates
presented their views, and the total attendance were about 75. In
his opening remarks Mr. Hara said that it was being gorganized to
discover the future direction for the Hibakushas of the worldh.
The speakers represented various parts of the world, from Japan
to Marshall Islands to Russia to India and Pakistan. It was observed
that besides the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and besides victims
of numerous nuclear tests, there was yet another significant section
of the Hibakushas in the form of the people directly or indirectly
affected by Uranium mining and other practices of gPeaceful Purposeh.
It was also noted that the use of Depleted Uranium weapons by the
US in Iraq has produced radioactivity, thus causing irreparable
damage in that country. It was also generally agreed that though
the people in different parts of the world are suffering from the
fall-out of nuclear activities for the last sixty years, their problems
have not yet been fully addressed by the powers-that-be. The monetary
compensations, wherever paid, are not adequate; the victims are
forced to engage into prolonged lawsuits; and in many countries
they have been simply ignored.
There was consensus in the workshop on the need for forming a worldwide
coalition, which will collect comprehensive data, render specific
advice on local level and draw a broad action plan for united action.
It was suggested that the Japan Council should take lead in the
matter. One suggestion was to evolve mechanism for fund-raising
for helping the Hibakushas. Another suggestion was about filing
a joint petition in the International Court of Justice so as to
attract required attention to the suffering of the people. There
were two more important suggestions. One was about introducing peace
education as a compulsory component in the school curriculum, and
another was about promoting a parallel media. It was felt that the
culture of violence has become all-pervasive and it needs to be
countered by teaching younger generation about the virtues of Peace.
Similarly, it was also the general opinion that mass media paid
less than required attention to the issue of world peace. It was
also expressed that in the decision making structure, the people
should be given proper participation.
It was heartening to note that while on the one hand, many senior
citizens shared their experiences; on the other, a number of young
persons and students came forward to talk about their participation
in the anti-nuclear movement. A student said with justifiable pride-
gWe are Peace Makers.h The speakers offered many more interesting
observations, like plans to raise a SADAKO statue in Seattle, Washington,
USA or the poets and intellectuals actively joining the struggle
against the draught caused by nuclear tests in Balochistan.
The workshop ended with the note that the World Conference in Hiroshima
and Nagasaki provided with a powerful platform to raise voice against
nuclear weapons; it also served to bring together Hibakushas of
the world; and that it motivated the peace workers around the world
to re-dedicate themselves to work for the cherished goal of a peaceful
world order, for making the world a safe, secure and serene place
for the future generations.