Hiromasa Ikeda, Vice President of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), joined other participants in stressing the moral case for ridding the world of nuclear weapons and urged increased efforts in awareness-raising at the conference, “Perspectives for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament” held at the Vatican in Rome on November 10 and 11.
Mr. Ikeda stated: “Nuclear weapons are dangerous from a security perspective. From an ethical and moral perspective, they are wrong. This renders them unacceptable in any hands. With the geopolitical risks of nuclear conflict rising to unprecedented levels, it is vital that this awareness be shared widely by all people.”
He also stressed the SGI’s educational focus on creating opportunities for dialogue: “This can foster a shared awareness that nuclear weapons—in any hands—are dangerous and wrong as a means of protecting the things and people we treasure.”
The SGI was one of 13 cooperating organizations involved in the conference hosted by the Vatican’s newly created Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
On November 10, conference participants received an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis, who spoke of the “mentality of fear” created by nuclear weapons, saying: “Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity.”
Several Nobel Peace Prize Laureates addressed the conference, including Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate ICAN (the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), who thanked people of faith for their efforts toward the historic adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in July this year, saying: “This treaty is not the final step in our journey out of nuclear darkness, but the beginning of the end.”
Other Nobel Peace Prize Laureates who spoke included Muhammad ElBaradei, Jody Williams, Muhammad Yunus, Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Perez Esquivel. High-level representatives of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross and Masako Wada of Nihon Hidankyo, a victim of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, also spoke.
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