In October, SGI representatives attended the UN General Assembly First Committee and related activities on the margins, including the Humanitarian Disarmament Forum (13-14 October).
During the First Committee, SGI supported a side event titled “To Safeguard Future Generations—Multi-Faith Responses to the Threat of Nuclear Weapons” held on 16 October. The event was organized by the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, and sponsored by the governments of Austria, Nigeria, Thailand and South Africa.
Following the opening words by Ambassador Thomas Hajniczi, Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Ira Helfand, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War presented on the humanitarian and environmental consequences of nuclear weapons. Hayley Ramsay-Jones spoke on behalf of SGI on the panel of respondents, along with Imam Saffet Catovic, Muslim Chaplain Drew University; Rev. David Charters, Permanent Observer Mission of The Holy See to the UN; and Dr. John Hartley, Evangelicals for Peace.
SGI’s remarks included the history of its nuclear disarmament activities, originating from the time of Josei Toda’s 1957 declaration against nuclear weapons to its participation in the negotiations of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). References were made to the dignity of life, the link between structural violence, discrimination, physical violence and the manifestation of nuclear weapons, as well as the importance of peace and disarmament education. The full text of the remarks can be found here.
Hayley Ramsay-Jones and Anna Ikeda of SGI have also been supporting ICAN’s efforts towards the entry into force of the TPNW, particularly in the Caribbean region. They held a meeting with Ambassador Sherman-Peter, new Permanent Observer of the Caribbean Community to the UN, to discuss the importance of the Treaty and possible activities in the region.