World Nuclear Victims Forum

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#816
4526
17/12/2015
Article

Abridged from the Declaration of the World Nuclear Victims Forum in Hiroshima

November 23, 2015

The full Declaration is posted at www.fwrs.info/topics/2015/341

We, participants in the World Nuclear Victims Forum, gathered in Hiroshima from November 21 to 23 in 2015, 70 years after the atomic bombings by the U.S. government.

We define the nuclear victims in the narrow sense of not distinguishing between victims of military and industrial nuclear use, including victims of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and of nuclear testing, as well as victims of exposure to radiation and radioactive contamination created by the entire process including uranium mining and milling, and nuclear development, use and waste.

We recall that the radiation, heat and blast of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki sacrificed not only Japanese but also Koreans, Chinese, Taiwanese and people from other countries there as a result of Japan's colonization and invasion, and Allied prisoners of war. Those who survived "tasted the tortures of hell."

We noted that through the international conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons held in Oslo in 2013 and in Nayarit and Vienna in 2014, the understanding is widely shared internationally that the detonation of nuclear weapons would cause catastrophic harm to the environment, human health, welfare and society; would jeopardize the survival of the human family; and adequate response is impossible. We warmly welcome the Humanitarian Pledge endorsed by 121 states, pledging to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

We acknowledge that the mining and refining of uranium, nuclear testing, and the disposal of nuclear waste are being carried out based on ongoing colonization, discriminatory oppression, and infringement of indigenous peoples' rights, including their rights to relationships with their ancestral land. These activities impose involuntary exposure to radiation and contaminate the local environment. Thus, the local populations are continually and increasingly deprived of the basic necessities for human life with ever more of them becoming nuclear victims.

We also reconfirmed that every stage of the nuclear chain contaminates the environment and damages the ecosystem, causing a wide array of radiation-related disorders in people and other living beings. Through the experience of the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima, we see that nuclear accidents inevitably expose entire populations living near the power plants and the workers assigned to cope with the accident to harmful levels of radiation, and that adequate response to such a disaster is impossible. We further see that radioactive contamination is inevitably a global phenomenon. We know that "military" and "industrial" nuclear power are intimately connected within a unified nuclear industry, and that every stage of the nuclear chain, including the use of depleted uranium weapons, creates large numbers of new nuclear victims.

Complete prevention of nuclear chain related disasters is impossible. No safe method exists for disposing of ever-increasing volumes of nuclear waste. Nuclear contamination is forever, making it utterly impossible to return the environment to its original state. Thus, we stress that the human family must abandon its use of nuclear energy.

We emphasize that all states that promote nuclear energy, the operators that cause radioactive contamination, and the manufacturers of nuclear facilities including nuclear power plants must bear liability for damages done, as do their shareholders and creditors. We are gravely concerned that the export of nuclear power plants is extremely likely to result in severe human rights abuses and environmental damage.

We condemn the Japanese government for failing to learn from the Fukushima disaster, without carrying out adequate investigations into the facts and impacts, hiding and trivializing the damage, and cutting off assistance to the victims, while investing in the restart and export of nuclear power plants. We oppose the building, operating or exporting of nuclear power plants or any industrial nuclear facility in Japan or any other country.

We call for the termination of uranium mining, milling, nuclear fuel production, nuclear power generation and reprocessing, and for the abolition of the entire nuclear chain.

We call for the urgent conclusion of a legally binding international instrument which prohibits and provides for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

We call for the prohibition of manufacture, possession and use of depleted uranium weapons.

With the momentum of this World Nuclear Victims Forum, we confirm our desire to continue to cooperate in solidarity and share information regarding nuclear victims, and disseminate our message through various methods including art and media.

Thus, as a result of this World Nuclear Victims Forum and in order to convey to the world the draft elements of a World Charter of the Rights of Nuclear Victims, we adopt this Hiroshima Declaration.