by Observatory of International Organisations And Globalisation (Padop)
Every year, the United Nations has declared the last week of October Disarmament Week, which we in Greece are also called upon to observe.
As a full member of the International Peace Bureau, PADOP coordinates its activities with both the global anti-nuclear movement and the international campaign for radical reductions in military spending, the total of which, world-wide, has greatly exceeded cold war levels, to the detriment of the vital needs of the peoples and their societies.
During this year’s Disarmament Week, we want to point out not only the dangers and threats, but also the successes of the global movement fighting for the abolition of nuclear and conventional weapons alike. Major threats have recently been generated by the tension surrounding North Korea’s nuclear tests. For the first time in several decades, the threat of using nuclear weapons has been expressed directly by both the regime in Pyongyang and the Trump administration, something that did not happen even during the cold war years, as the two superpowers of the period, the US and the USSR, declared through their leaders that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must not take place.”
The anti-nuclear movement which, through the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), has been awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, has asked for an immediate de-escalation of the tension in the Korean Peninsula, that both sides reject the use of nuclear weapons, and that talks be initiated to transform the region into a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula is one of the main demands made during our Disarmament Week events.
In addition, we demand the ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which has so far been ratified by 183 countries, but not by the USA or China.
At the same time, we ask that the greatest possible number of countries sign the Draft Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that was adopted on 7 July 2017 at the United Nations, with the participation of 130 countries. We note that this agreement was the culmination of multiple actions over many years by antinuclear and other social movements all over the world, including Greece.
As a modern peace movement, we believe that peace is not just the absence of war. This is why, in addition to our antiwar activities, we also highlight the relationship between peace and democracy, peace and human rights, peace and environmental protection. We are obviously concerned about the growing militarization of international life, which feeds militarism as well as views supporting the resolution of international conflicts through violence. We work for a Culture of Peace and Non Violence to prevail, in accordance with UNESCO resolutions.
The dangers of intense militarization are also associated with developments in our broader area, given that the Middle East is the most highly militarized region on earth, receiving some 30% of global arms exports.
During Disarmament Week, we will also pay tribute to the anniversary of the founding of the UN (24 October), recognising its irreplaceable role in the cause of peace and global collaboration. Another day in Disarmament Week (25 October) has been designated by PADOP National Day of Action on Reducing Military Spending Globally, which amounts an average of about 5 billion dollars a day, in a period when humanity’s economic, social and environmental problems are multiplying. Military spending deprive lives in this sense as well, not only the use of weapons!
The PADOP Executive Board
Download the declaration here.