The Nagasaki Hiroshima Peace Messengers made their annual visit to UNI Global Union’s head office in Nyon, Switzerland, bringing with them the positive news that they have been selected as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize 2018.
UNI Global Union Deputy General Secretary, Alke Boessiger welcomed the 20 students and 15 adults making up this year’s Peace Messenger group and congratulated them on being considered for the prestigious prize.
The Messengers included one first generation hibakusha, as well as second, third and fourth generation who are keeping alive the grave lessons of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
They will take a petition, now containing over one and three-quarter million names, to the United Nations in Geneva to demand an end to nuclear weapons. The Peace Messengers have been visiting UNI for more than a dozen year, a relationship which was strengthened in 2010 when UNI took 2000 affiliates to Nagasaki for its world congress, creating a whole wave of new ‘peace ambassadors.’
One of the young peace messengers said poignantly, they would be the last to hear from the hibakusha or survivors directly, as that generation pass away, which gave them an added responsibility. The UNI staff were visibly moved by the stories of the bombings and their terrible aftermath. Another of the young activists, said they would not give up until nuclear weapons were consigned to the past. This ‘dream’ has become a step closer with the signing of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons last year.
Boessiger said, “We are with you and other organisations for peace, we will force politicians to fully implement the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. At UNI’s World Congress in Liverpool in June this year, the UNI family once again showed its commitment to a world without nuclear arms. The union and peace movements are united.”
UNI’s Breaking Through strategy supports the global nuclear disarmament movement and UNI is a member of ICAN, the International Campaign Against Nuclear Arms which won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for its efforts to bring about the UN Treaty, as well as the IPB, the International Peace Bureau.