By Kazuo Ishiwatari
The author is Executive Director, Peace and Global Issues, Soka Gakkai International (SGI). Following is the text of his remarks in Panel Session IV: Initiatives and campaigns – legislators, religious leaders and civil society' on the occasion of the International conference: Building a nuclear-weapon-free world on August 29, 2016 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
ASTANA (IDN-IINPS) - We are standing at an important juncture in history. Calls for a legal prohibition or banning of nuclear weapons are mounting as a first concrete step toward a world finally and permanently free from nuclear weapons.
In this context, SGI welcomes the report adopted by the OEWG which "[r]ecommended with wide spread support for the General Assembly to convene a conference in 2017… to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination."
This report clearly evidences that there is a strong desire to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, part of a shared global quest for authentic human security for all. We are ready, and it is time to act on this shared desire for security by legally banning nuclear weapons.
The challenge of nuclear disarmament is, however, not something that concerns only the nuclear weapon States. It must be a truly global enterprise involving all States, and fully engaging civil society.
Every State has an obligation to promote and participate in good faith negotiations for disarmament, and to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion. Therefore, it is key that these diverse actors come together toward the shared goal of abolishing nuclear weapons.
Civil society actors are able to make significant and necessary contributions to this end. In his 2009 proposal SGI President Ikeda stated, "If nuclear weapons epitomize the forces that would divide and destroy the world, they can only be overcome by the solidarity of ordinary citizens, which transforms hope into the energy to create a new era".
As Buddhists who uphold the value and dignity of life, SGI asserts that nuclear weapons are entirely incompatible with our values and those upheld by our respective faith traditions as their existence denies the right of people to live in security and with dignity.
Committed to a world free from nuclear weapons, the SGI will continue striving to expand citizen's solidarity around the world. [International Press Syndicate – 29 August 2016]