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Douglas Roche Named Honorary Citizen of Hiroshima;
Calls for Start on Legal Ban of Nuclear Weapons

Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament and Chairman Emeritus of the Middle Powers Initiative (MPI), was named a Special Honorary Citizen of Hiroshima at an international conference in Hiroshima July 28-29 for his work in founding MPI.

Doug Roche, Tadatoshi Akiba  

Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba presents the Certificate of Hiroshima Special Honorary Citizenship to Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C. at Hiroshima 2020 Conference for his work as founding Chairman of the
Middle Powers Initiative
.

Photo by Hideki Tanimura

 
   

The conference, held a few days before the historic visit to Hiroshima of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, issued an appeal to governments, which have already called for a comprehensive legal process toward the elimination of nuclear weapons, to convene a special conference in 2011 “to facilitate the start of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention.”

Referring to Senator Roche’s several previous lectures in Hiroshima and the founding of MPI, Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba said, “Such activities as these have made him very influential in raising awareness of peace among the people of Hiroshima.”  He added that Senator Roche’s support of Mayors for Peace, now numbering more than 4,000 cities around the world, had enabled the organization to gain international trust. “Mr. Roche’s contribution to Hiroshima, a city that has experience atomic bombing, is truly remarkable.”

In his acceptance remarks, Senator Roche said: “Fellow citizens of Hiroshima: I rejoice to be with you.  I share your grieves and anxieties, your joys and hopes.  I will carry the name Hiroshima with me wherever I go.  Like you, I stand for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  I will fight for this goal as long as I live.  Long live Hiroshima!”

Giving the keynote address on July 28 at the Hiroshima Conference for the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons by 2020, Senator Roche said that, as a result of the recent Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, “the subject of a Nuclear Weapons Convention -- a global treaty to ban all nuclear weapons -- is on the international agenda with the agreement of all states.”  The work of many parliamentarians, mayors and civil society leaders has built up historical momentum.  But major governments are still blocking progress.  A number of important states, for example, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Brazil and Chile, are ready to move forward.  Therefore, Senator Roche urged:

“Today, I am calling for middle power countries, which have already declared themselves in favor of a global legal process to ban nuclear weapons, to step forward, and invite interested states to preparatory meetings.  This will reinforce the leadership of President Obama, whose aspiration for a nuclear weapons free world is thwarted by those within his own administration, who say such an achievement is unobtainable.”

The conference issued an appeal calling on all governments to support Ban Ki-moon’s five-point plan for nuclear disarmament and immediately start negotiating the elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020. “To this end, governments that have expressed their desire for a comprehensive legal process, in partnership with like-minded NGOs, should convene as special disarmament conference in 2011 to facilitate the start of negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention.”

The conference also called for "strengthened collaboration" among Mayors for Peace, the Middle Powers Initiative, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, and Abolition 2000 with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

» Read Senator Roche's acceptance speech
» Read Senator Roche's presentation to the Hiroshima 2020 Conference