The International Peace Constitutions Event for the abolition of nuclear weapons and foreign military bases held in Ecuador on November 5th and 6th in Manta and in Montecristi (where Ecuador’s last constitution was created) was supported by the Peace Boat, the No Bases Coalition, and human rights organizations that fight for the elimination of foreign military bases.
The Peace Boat has been travelling throughout the world promoting peace for the past 26 years. Among its 500 passengers there are 10 survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs. Their main message is for nuclear abolishment, and the promotion of peace, dialogue and international understanding.
Hiroshi Nishioka, survivor of the nuclear bomb that was dropped above Hiroshima, was 14 years old and was in a classroom at his school 3 km from the epicenter on August 9, 1945. “I saw a ray of heat and immediately thereafter the shock wave threw me to the ground; I was not wounded because my friends fell on top of me, but the shock wave wounded my friends with glass and splinters. The school sent us to save people in the city, but the damage was so great, the building and the bodies, that a child could not do anything. 140000 people died in Hiroshima and 75000 in Nagasaki.” He concluded that, “through our testimony, we have insisted on the abolishment of nuclear weapons.”
Events at the conference included presentations on the elimination of foreign military bases by Sinshaku Nohira (Peace Boat), Luis Saavedra (No Bases), Odalys Lopez (Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples), and Verónica Macías (Youth in Movement); and on Nuclear Abolition and Peace Constitutions, participants included: Akira Kawasaki (Peace Boat), Carlos Vargas (IALANA), Lina Cahuasquí (No Bases) and Carlos Crespo (World March for Peace and Non-Violence).
Furthermore, the mayors of Montecristi and of Manta endorsed “Mayors for Peace” at the event. They listened to the testimonies of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bomb survivors as well as those of fishermen who have been affected by the presence of the US base in Manta.
The conference culminated with the Manta and Montecristi Declaration of November 5th and 6th 2009 whose main points include a petition to world governments for:
• Take concrete steps towards nuclear abolishment in the 2010 Conference on revising the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; that discussions be held regarding negotiation of a Convention for prohibiting and completely eliminating nuclear weapons, as maintained in the 5 point Disarmament proposal that was presented to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in 2008.
• Strengthen international mechanisms for arms control, non-proliferation, and the disarmament of ALL weapons by means of the enactment of a comprehensive treaty on the arms trade.
• Cooperate with other governments on the adoption of treaties that establish Nuclear Weapon Free Zones.
**The abolition of foreign military bases:**
• Begin discussions for the abolishment of foreign military bases and begin negotiations for their universal dismantlement and reintegration into civil use.
• Cooperate with other governments on the adoption of treaties that establish Foreign Military Base Free Zones.
• Support and develop Peace Constitutions.
• Ask the United States to reconsider their realignment plan for military bases, including the bases in Okinawa, so that they change their relocalization and reconstruction policies to policies of withdrawal and elimination.
• Adopt pacifist clauses in the constitution of their respective countries, similar to those adopted by countries such as Ecuador (Art. 5 and 416), Japan (Art. 9), and Costa Rica (Art. 12).
• Adhere to the pacifist clauses in their nation’s constitution and rectify violations.
• Develop and adopt a UN resolution that recognizes the role that peace constitutions can have in the promotion of global security and disarmament for development.
*(Translation provided by Jaimie Boyd Guevara)*