International Day of Action
Published 1:03 am, Thursday, April 29, 2010
On Sunday, May 2, 2,000 Japanese citizens and more than 10,000 marchers from all over the world will hold a rally and march in Manhattan in support of the United Nations Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Many New Canaan and Stamford marchers will assemble and catch the local train that leaves Stamford at 1:03 p.m. Sunday. They will join the rally at 2 p.m. at Times Square. Next, they will march east on 42nd Street proceeding to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations (The plaza is at 47th Street between First and Second avenues.) An international peace and music festival will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.peaceandjustice.org.
The conference, attended by representatives from 189 countries, is held every five years, with the goal of strengthening the NPT. The treaty is designed to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of non-nuclear states. It also seeks to promote nuclear disarmament by the original five nuclear weapons countries, and to ensure responsible use of non-nuclear technology by all signers of the agreement.
The "International Day of Action" on May 2 is supported by hundreds of U.S. and international peace and disarmament groups. They want the NPT Review Conference to negotiate a multilateral nuclear weapons abolition treaty. Bringing such an agreement into effect will be a difficult; however, it's essential to a world without nuclear weapons. Next steps would be seeking a ban on the production of new nuclear weapons material, forbidding nuclear tests worldwide, and strengthening penalties for treaty violators. Other goals would include taking Russian and U.S. missiles off hair-trigger alert (in order to lessen the chances of accidental launch), and tightening inspection regimes.
The goal of a world without nuclear weapons has been emphatically embraced by President Obama in step-by-step achievements over the last month. The Nuclear Posture Review, hammered out by the president in consultation with defense experts, for the first time de-emphasizes the role of these weapons, without undermining U.S. security. The new START treaty, just signed by President Obama and Russian President Medvedev, will reduce each nation's number of strategic nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles. The recently concluded Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., sharply focused world attention on keeping nuclear bombs and material out of the hands of terrorists.
The U.S. will send a high level delegation to the NPT Review Conference. This delegation's hand will be strengthened by the recent Nuclear Posture Review, and by the positive momentum built by the successful START Treaty and Nuclear Summit. The May 2 rally will be an important moment to galvanize world public opinion toward strong measures to prevent the proliferation of the most dangerous weapons on earth -- nuclear weapons. Demonstrators will carry signs with various messages. But my two signs will read, "Halt Nuclear Proliferation Now!" and "Work Toward A World With Zero Nuclear Weapons!"
Written by Lucy Lee Evans with Stephen Myers and Jane Milliken. All are members of Greenwich/Stamford Peace Action. Myers and Milliken helped organize local support for the May 2 march and collaborated on this piece.