Green Cross International, represented by GCI President Alexander Likhotal, took part in the 11th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates held 12-14 November in Hiroshima, Japan, which concluded with the adoption of a declaration calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
While he could not be there in person, GCI Founding President Mikhail Gorbachev, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, sent a statement to the Summit in which he not only stressed the need for nuclear disarmament but also on “demilitarization of international relations and political thinking,”
“Today, the main challenges to mankind’s future are the threat of catastrophic climate change, the degradation of the environment, massive poverty that breeds extremism, migration flows and state failure, diseases and epidemics, organized crime, drug trafficking and massive violations of human rights.,” said President Gorbachev, “There are no military responses to those challenges. Therefore, we cannot be indifferent to the fact that, instead of effectively addressing these problems, governments continue wasteful expenditures on weapons of war, particularly nuclear weapons.”
GCI President Alexander Likhotal took part in one of the sessions, during which he highlighted the catch 22 the world is caught in: “It is totally crazy to rely on nuclear deterrence in the current world, but one can hardly imagine a sane political leader ready to reject the nuclear weapons at his possession,” he said.
“If we want to survive we need to reengineer the security system,” said Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, who won the Prize jointly with the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2005.
During the Summit, the Novel Laureates received the news that fellow prizewinner Aung San Suu Kyi was freed from house arrest in Burma, which the Laureates had been urging for. This year the annual Peace Summit Award went to former Italian soccer star Roberto Baggio, who received the award for his charitable work, including pressing for the freedom of Suu Kyi. A special award was also given to a group of atomic bomb survivors for their work to promote peace.
In addition to Dr. El Baradei, 5 other previous winners were in attendance, including the Dalai Lama; Former South African President Willem De Klerk; Northern Irish peace activist Mairead Corrigan Maguire; Iranian human rights campaigner Shirin Ebadi; and US activist Jody Williams, one of the leaders of the international campaign to ban landmines. Representatives from Laureate organizations including the United Nations, Amnesty International, the International Panel on Climate Change, UNICEF, and the Red Cross were also in attendance.
Organized by the Permanent Secretariat of Nobel Peace Laureates Summits and the City of Hiroshima, this year’s summit was held under the theme under the theme “The Legacy of Hiroshima: a World Without Nuclear Weapons” and marked the first time the Summit was held outside of Europe.