No more Nagasakis. No more Hiroshimas: Youth demands a Nuclear Free World!

Hiroshima / New York, August/Sep 2015

Throughout the years, I have been working with young people around the globe in building their capacity by empowering communities and advocating for peace, security and the  rights of all people. When it comes to youth, my aspirations are always multiplied with hope and strength because we are the “generation of change”. If we can’t change the whole world, don’t get disappointed because we can create change at any level of society and, at the end of the day, impact the globe. We are 1.8 billion in numbers and rising. We are the Youth of the world and a generation of change.

I was flown into Hiroshima from New York City to join youth Activists, the hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) and experts at the International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the tragic Hiroshima and Nagaski bombings.

The event was organized by Soka Gakkai International (SGI) with the co-sponsorship of ICAN (International Campaign to abolish Nuclear Weapons), Mines Action Canada (MAC), the cities of Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, Nagasaki Global Citizen’s Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), Basel Peace Office, Global Zero, Ban All Nukes Generation (BANg), and Mayors for Peace.

The Summit brought together 30 key youth activists from 23 countries, including myself, to discuss matters of nuclear disarmament. The countries represented include: Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Thailand, Tunisia, UK and the USA. All the nations represented at this summit are actively engaged in nuclear disarmament at the local, regional and international levels.

We also had the honor of meeting the United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi,  who echoed our voice for the Nuclear Free World. On meeting with the survivors, Alhendawi said, “The hibakusha are more than survivors – they are unparalleled champions of peace. From their searing experiences, they have forged a message of hope that someday the world will be free of these indiscriminate and destabilizing weapons. ” He added that, “The people of this city are an inspiration to the world, which has a responsibility today to honour their experience by ensuring a world free of nuclear weapons.”

“The hibakusha are more than survivors – they are unparalleled champions of peace.

Delivering the keynote address, Alhendawi joined youth in Sounding a global rallying cry: “No more Nagasakis. No more Hiroshimas.” The Envoy reaffirmed the United Nations’ support for the important work of the International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition, saying, “The United Nations stands with you in this call, and resolved to realize the vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world.” We represented the declaration to the UN Youth Envoy and asked for urgent and focused humanitarian action.

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Therefore, as the Generation of Change, We vow to:

  • Continue educating and empowering ourselves in order to better spread this awareness among our peers;
  • Recognize that diversity in this work is important and in the work we have to educate ourselves on how gender impacts disarmament
  • Take action by raising our voices and pursuing nuclear abolition in our communities and our countries;
  • Share our knowledge about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the experiences of the hibakusha and survivors of any nuclear turmoil or testing;
  • Encourage others to join the nuclear abolition movement and establish a strong unity among all nuclear abolition campaigners.
  • Call upon every State to start negotiations on an international treaty for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons;
  • Call on our elected representatives to adopt the treaty as national legislation prohibiting and criminalizing the manufacture, investment in, testing, deployment, threat or use of nuclear weapons.

Read the International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition’s Pledge here: Generation of Change: A Youth Pledge for Nuclear Abolition It’s our time to engage the world in meaningful participation and leadership for decision and policy making around peace and security, as mentioned in the The Amman Youth Declaration.

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In the end, I would end up my writing with the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “History will have to record that the tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people”. Everyone should take responsibility and act in their communities, institutions and public spaces and let’s held our leaders accountable. 

Email: contact@syedmahmoodkazmi.com

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