Experts Say

Comment on SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's 2011 Peace Proposal

March 7, 2011
By Roberto Savio

The ongoing developments in the Middle East once again underline that the human spirit is indefatigable and that it survives all forms of repression perpetrated under the garb of fostering security and stability. Nuclear weapons embody some of the most brute and inhumane tools that in the name of deterrence threaten the extinction of all life on planet Earth.

The most befitting alternative to encouraging forces of annihilation is reinforcing energies that build "a world of dignity for all", a world in which the creative human spirit and creative life get an upper hand. Dr. Ikeda very rightly goes beyond the philosophical plane and suggests concrete steps that governments, particularly of countries which are in possession of atomic arsenal, should be pressurised to undertake.

These include establishing "the structures within which states possessing nuclear weapons will move rapidly toward disarmament", forestalling "further nuclear weapons development or modernization", and "comprehensively" outlawing "these inhumane weapons through a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC)".

Such a convention should indeed go beyond treaties negotiated solely among governments. It should represent a qualitative transformation from traditional international law to "a form of law that derives its ultimate authority from the expressed will of the world's peoples".

The United Nations, essentially an inter-governmental organisation, has long recognised the need to liberate itself from the confines defined by the interests of individual states that do not always take into account the interests of their citizens and the larger interests of humankind. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's "In Larger Freedom" was a milestone on the road his successor Ban Ki-moon is traversing in regard to nuclear disarmament.

It is necessary, therefore, to strengthen the civil society around the world and, as Dr. Ikeda says, build "a global culture of human rights", a culture based on universal values that are enshrined in all religions, the kernel of which is respect for life.

Just as I support Ban Ki-moon's call for the regular holding of UN Security Council summits on nuclear disarmament I agree with Dr. Ikeda that states that have relinquished nuclear weapons should be regular participants in those summits. Also, experts and NGO representatives are invited to address those high-level conferences.

I think it is self-evident that Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which are the only cities to have suffered the horror of atomic bombings, should host the 2015 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, and that it should serve as a nuclear abolition summit.

We need to create worldwide public awareness of these and related issues that are crucial for the survival of humankind and planet Earth. We need to go beyond the mainstream media that project a jaundiced view of the world. We need the non-mainstream media that present a credible and noble alternative to narrow corporate and national interests.

I agree with Dr. Ikeda that human rights do not become a reality only by treaties or laws, but require also the efforts of ordinary people to correct the injustices they experience or see in the world around them. Precisely here the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency serves as a point of intersection between the civil society and wide sections of the public.

Very much to our satisfaction, Dr. Ikeda has in this context referred to the cooperation between SGI and IPS news agency. Since April 2009, IPS together with its media partners such as the Global Perspectives monthly magazine and IDN-InDepthNews -- launched by the Global Cooperation Council -- have been championing the cause of nuclear abolition by reporting and analysing wide-ranging issues related to nuclear disarmament and nuclear abolition.

We are well-placed -- and would be happy -- to walk the bumpy road to 2015 summit in Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the abolition of all nuclear weapons and ushering in a nuclear-free world.

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