“Nearly 80 years later the threat of even more devastating nuclear weapons hangs over us.”

Niall Christie

Peace campaigners and survivors will mark the 76th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima tomorrow by calling for nuclear disarmament and Britain’s demilitarisation.

Commemorations organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) will take place across Britain highlighting the human impact of the bombings on August 6, 1945.

By the end of 1945 the bombing and its aftermath had killed an estimated 140,000 people in Hiroshima, with a further 74,000 dying from the bombing of Nagasaki on August 9.

In the years that followed, many of the survivors would face cancer or other terrible side effects from the radiation, with increased rates of cancer and chronic disease among the survivors.

Friday also marks the first anniversary of the global nuclear weapons ban, with more countries being urged to sign up to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the massacre, said: “Let us honour the people who perished with our actions.

“The TPNW has entered into force. Nuclear weapons have always been immoral. Now they are also illegal.

“Nuclear abolitionists everywhere can be incredibly encouraged and empowered by this new legal status. And now, with greater intensity and purpose, we will push forward to our ultimate goal — a world without nuclear weapons.”

Despite this, the British government has continued with plans to increase its upper limit on nuclear weapons by more than 40 per cent.

A legal opinion commissioned by CND found the government’s nuclear arsenal increase is in breach of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, ending three decades of gradual reductions and threatening world peace.

CND general secretary Kate Hudson said: “The continued human catastrophe of Hiroshima serves as a warning of the immeasurable danger nuclear weapons pose to humanity. Our thoughts are with the people of that city.

“Each and every one of the UK’s nuclear weapons is eight times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima which was responsible for 200,000 deaths. The decision to boost massively Britain’s arsenal of nuclear warheads is not only illegal but also immoral.”

The calls from CND were echoed by international voices, with International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons executive director Beatrice Fihn calling for countries to heed the calls of survivors and join the TPNW.

Activists have warned Britain must take action to scale back its increased militarisation and work towards peace with unilateral disarmament.

Stop the War coalition convenor Lindsay German said: “We should never forget the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nearly 80 years later the threat of even more devastating nuclear weapons hangs over us.

“The British government is committed to replacing the Trident nuclear submarine system and to increasing its arsenal of nuclear warheads. These come at great human and financial cost and do nothing to make the world more peaceful.

“Unilateral nuclear disarmament would send a signal to the world that Britain is in favour of peace, not war.”

Source: Morning Star

06 Aug 2021 by Niall Christie

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