NEW YORK – A revised preamble of a draft treaty to ban nuclear weapons retains a reference to victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, according to a copy of the document.
The draft was circulated to participants in ongoing U.N. negotiations on the world’s first nuclear arms ban treaty in New York.
Expanding on the original text that addressed hibakusha and victims of nuclear tests, a section was added that addresses indigenous people who have been impacted by nuclear activities, including Australian Aborigines and Pacific Islanders from places like the Marshall Islands.
The revised draft says the countries participating in the talks are “mindful of the suffering of, and unacceptable harm caused to, the victims of the use of nuclear weapons (hibakusha) as well as those affected by the testing of nuclear weapons.”
It also recognizes “the disproportionate impact of nuclear weapon activities on indigenous peoples,” which activists say references groups including Native Americans who have been exposed to radiation due to uranium mines.
The last paragraph remains largely unchanged from the earlier draft, stressing the importance of the role of the “public conscience” in furthering efforts to call for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
Also stressed was the key role played by international and regional organizations such as the Red Cross, as well as hibakusha, political leaders, academics and nongovernmental organizations.
“The voices of the hibakusha and survivors of nuclear testing around the world have been absolutely crucial in this process … that is so powerful it makes the case as to why these weapons must be banned,” Tilman Ruff, co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, said at a presentation.
Hibakusha are actively taking part in the talks, though Tokyo is not involved as it relies on U.S. nuclear deterrence for protection.
The participants have expressed hope that an agreement will be reached on a final draft of a pact by the end of the session on July 7.
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