Gandhi’s grand-daughter to address UN nuclear disarmament day commemoration

Ela Gandhi, the grand-daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, will address the 2016 United Nations commemoration of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on September 27 in Geneva.

‘There is no moral justification for nuclear weapons,’ says Ms Gandhi, who is a Co-President of the global, inter-faith organization Religions for Peace. ‘People of faith the world over cannot but reject nuclear weapons – including their possession and the threat of their use – as an affront against God and creation.’

Ms Gandhi was recently in Kazakhstan, where she led an international delegation to the site in Kurchatov where the Soviet Union detonated over 450 nuclear weapons for tests, causing death or serious health impacts to over 1.5 million people. ‘The catastrophic impact of these nuclear tests on the health of the Kazakh people demonstrates the immorality of these weapons. Their use is a crime against current and future generations.’

‘One of our actions is a joint statement of religious leaders, mayors and parliamentarians which highlights the Common Good of a nuclear-weapon-free world and which we have presented to the United Nations demonstrating global support for nuclear disarmament. Now it looks like the UN will take up our call and commence multilateral negotiations in 2017 for a nuclear-weapon-free world.’ Ela Gandhi.

The UN commemoration event is being organised by UNFOLD ZERO, a global platform promoting United Nations initiatives for nuclear disarmament, in cooperation with the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (Geneva) and the Permanent Missions of Kazakhstan and Ecuador to the UN.

‘The risk of nuclear weapons use by accident, miscalculation or intent has increased due to conflicts between Russia and the West over Ukraine, heightened tensions in North East Asia and increased possibilities of terrorists acquiring nuclear materials or hacking into nuclear command and control systems,’ says Alyn Ware, Member of the World Future Council and Co-founder of UNFOLD ZERO. ‘The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons occurs on the anniversary of an incident in which a nuclear war nearly occurred due to technical faults in the Soviet nuclear command and control system during a similar time of high tension. A similar incident today could lead inadvertently to the destruction of human civilization.’

The UN commemoration event will also highlight the links between nuclear disarmament and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. ‘The nuclear weapons industry consumes $100 billion per year,’ says Colin Archer, Secretary-General of the International Peace Bureau. ‘This money could go a long way in financing the SDGs, offering a much better chance that the goals can indeed be reached.‘

The commemoration event is part of Chain Reaction 2016, a series of nuclear disarmament actions and events around the world running from July 8th (the 20th anniversary of the International Court of Justice decision affirming the general illegality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons) until October 2, the International Day of Non-violence and birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.

When the atom bomb was detonated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Mahatma Gandhi noted that ‘The atomic bomb has deadened the finest feelings which have sustained mankind for ages.’ Ela Gandhi believes that humankind can recover its soul, prevent a nuclear war, and achieve peace through co-operative actions, especially by people of faith working in cooperation with legislators, governments and the United Nations. ‘One of our actions is a joint statement of religious leaders, mayors and parliamentarians which highlights the Common Good of a nuclear-weapon-free world and which we have presented to the United Nations demonstrating global support for nuclear disarmament. Now it looks like the UN will take up our call and commence multilateral negotiations in 2017 for a nuclear-weapon-free world.’

The UN commemoration will include a video of Chain Reaction events around the world, plus the presentation to the United Nations of the Astana Vision declaration: From a Radioactive haze to a nuclear-weapon-free world.

For more information contact info@unfoldzero.org or visit Chain Reaction – UN event.

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