WILPF Statement on the 66th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

On 6 and 9 August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. WILPF deplored these bombings and pays respect to the victims of this atrocity every year. In March this year, WILPF also expressed its grief for the loss of life and devastation in Japan resulting from the disaster at its Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. It is a terrible tragedy that the very nation that sustained and survived an attack with nuclear weapons is today sustaining more radiation exposure and contamination.

The development, manufacture, testing, deployment, and sharing of nuclear weapons continues today. The threat of the use of these weapons still exists. The arms race is continuing.

All of the states that currently possess nuclear weapons have plans to modernize these weapons in the coming decades. The Obama administration has committed to spend $185 billion dollars over the next 20 years to modernize the US nuclear arsenal and delivery systems and the facilities used to build these weapons. He made this commitment in exchange for US Senate ratification of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia. For a minimal arms control treaty, the administration in essence pushed the possibility of nuclear disarmament off the US agenda for any foreseeable future. This also provides cover for other states to keep their nuclear weapons and for others to acquire them.

This commitment to invest further in nuclear weapons comes at a time of global economic crisis. It is a classic, heartbreaking example of wasted financial and human resources. The money and scientific effort could be better put to use in creating jobs, building homes and schools, providing health care, developing renewable energy technologies, and so much more.

Nuclear weapons do not exist in a vacuum. They are inherently linked to the pursuit of corporate profits over human security, political corruption and secrecy, environmental devastation, negative effects to health of human bodies, especially women’s bodies, and the undermining of human security, collective international security, and peace. Nuclear weapons are in violation

Many governments still accord political and economic “value” to nuclear weapons. This value must be dispelled by dismantling the myth of nuclear deterrence and by highlighting nuclear weapons’ incompatibility with international law.

WILPF calls on all nuclear weapon possessors to cease their plans for the modernization of their nuclear weapons, delivery systems, and related infrastructure as a step toward the good faith pursuit of nuclear disarmament and a nuclear weapon free world. WILPF calls upon these governments to redirect funds spent on nuclear weapons to meet human and environmental needs and to pursue policies that are consistent with achieving nuclear disarmament.

WILPF also expresses solidarity with the people of Ganjeong, South Korea in their struggle to stop the construction of a military naval base which is designed to host US Aegis destroyers that will carry missile “defence” systems. Military bases are a visible structure of militarism and imperialism; they undermine more constructive forms international cooperation and engagement; and they perpetuate militarism and military spending. On 6 August 2011, WILPF stands with the local villagers and their international supporters facing the power of the military to protect their homes, livelihoods, the environment, and peace.