2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Workshop 3
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 worldh.

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 Purposeh. 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.

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Japan Council
against A & H Bombs
(GENSUIKYO)
2-4-4 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8464
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