2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Judge Christopher G. Weeramantory
President, International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms (IALANA)

We have come to the conclusion of a most inspiring session of remembrance of the enormous suffering this city has undergone 59 years ago and this seminar has been rich in reflections on the continuing dangers posed to the world by the possibility that such an event may happen again somewhere, sometime and in some unforeseen way. The sufferings of Hiroshima are a lesson to all the world of the importance attaching to a concerted worldwide effort to end the danger of the worst man made threat to the continued existence of the human race, of human civilization and of human values.

We have reflected in these proceedings on the fact that far from the nuclear danger being lessened or negatived, it has grown and become more threatening. There are at least a dozen important ways in which the nuclear danger has grown since Hiroshima. Not only has the weapon been made much more destructive. It has entered many more hands and the know-how with which it can be put together is continually spreading. At present rates of dissemination of information, the knowledge necessary to create such a weapon cannot much longer be kept secret within the hands of a few military establishments. Information technology is spreading at a phenomenal rate and we may soon reach the situation where the knowledge necessary to make this diabolical weapon may become generally available.

There are numerous groups in the world who are non-state actors on the international scene ranging from major corporations to terrorist networks and separatist movements and even individuals themselves who would want to have this means of exercising irresistible power. If the world does not unite to contain this menace there will be all sorts of irresponsible hands into which the weapon may fall.

There is also the possibility of nuclear accidents. Problems of storage of 30,000 or more nuclear weapons, problems of defects and leakages, problems of carriage over the sea ways, in the air and over the land routes of the world, problems of hijacking of nuclear arms and nuclear materials and the sale of nuclear knowledge by people once in the nuclear establishment are other sources of additional danger. Moreover there is the possibility of an accidental operation of hair trigger mechanisms set ready to respond to intruders into the airspace of a country, for mechanical error in such delicate instrumentation cannot be avoided. If that should happen it could unleash a nuclear war.

In all these numerous ways the danger continues, so long as the world community is unable to unite to resolve and end this menace. That resolve will not come unless the people of the world unite to protect themselves, their children and the human race by forcing governments to be reasonable and end this menace rather than seeking to cling on to this as a source of national power, even if it means the destruction of humanity.

The 60th anniversary of this terrible event is a stark reminder of the fact that 60 years have passed without our being able to achieve this irreducible minimum of protection for the continuance of the human race. If humanity does not end the bomb, the bomb will end humanity. That lesson should go out to all the world from Hiroshima today, and a campaign which is massive, worldwide, intense and passionate should be launched over the coming year to ensure that we make a firm beginning to the process that will spell the end of these weapons.

I would also emphasis that the need for popular education on the dangers of the bomb to present and future generations, the health damage caused by it, the extent of the devastation that can be caused by a nuclear exchange and the principles of international morality and law which totally outlaw this weapon - all of these are skimmed over everyday when in fact they should be drilled into the public conscience. All of these are left untouched by educational authorities and the media. All of these mechanisms of information need to be triggered now if humanity is to survive.

The greatest danger in matters like this is complacency and the false feeling that since a nuclear war has not occurred for nearly 60 years it is an unlikely event. We must stir up the public of the world to the increasing possibilities of nuclear war, the increased destructiveness of the nuclear weapon and the increasing circle of wielders of nuclear power.

This is a solemn duty imposed upon every peace loving and concerned citizen at this solemn moment when we take stock of how little has been done in 60 years to end the greatest menace that humanity has ever faced. @



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