January 26, 2015
Buddhist Leader Calls for Increased Efforts to Rid World of Poverty and Ban Nuclear Weapons in 70th Year Since WWII
Daisaku Ikeda, SGI president, has issued his 2015 peace proposal, "A Shared Pledge for a More Humane Future: To Eliminate Misery from the Earth."
In the proposal, Mr. Ikeda welcomes the ambitious scale of the United Nations' proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which call for putting an end to poverty "in all its forms everywhere." In the 70th year since the UN was created, he calls for a return to its founding spirit, as well as for increased collaboration between the UN and civil society. In order to lay the foundations for elimination of the human suffering caused by poverty and conflict, he stresses a need for the rehumanization of politics and economics based on a solidarity of ordinary citizens, for empowerment that enables people to overcome suffering and for a broadening of the sphere of our friendships and concern for others as a basis for building peace. Mr. Ikeda makes specific proposals for protection of the rights of displaced persons and others living outside of their country of origin for economic reasons. He suggests including in the SDGs the protection of the dignity and human rights of all such people, and calls for regional cooperation toward the empowerment of displaced persons, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, building on pioneering initiatives in West Africa.
Regarding the abolition of nuclear weapons, a consistent theme of Mr. Ikeda's proposals, he applauds the fact that in October 2014, a total of 155 countries and territories signed the Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons. Over 80% of UN member states have now clearly stated that nuclear weapons should be never used under any circumstances. The SGI leader asserts that while the gulf between the nuclear-weapon states and those calling for nuclear abolition appears great, there is common ground in the desire to avoid the horrific outcome of any use of nuclear weapons. He urges heads of government to attend the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference and calls on them to voice there the pledges of their governments to eliminate the danger posed by nuclear weapons. Planning is underway for a World Youth Summit for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons to be held in Hiroshima in September of this year as a joint initiative of SGI and other NGOs. Mr. Ikeda hopes a youth declaration pledging to end the nuclear age will be adopted, building momentum in support of a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.
In his proposal, Mr. Ikeda also calls for increased regional cooperation and youth exchange, specifically urging China, South Korea and Japan to come together to create a regional model for such collaboration. He stresses the importance of reviving trilateral China-Korea-Japan summits and hopes that leaders of the three countries can mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II with a pledge never to go to war again and regional cooperation in support of the SDGs. At the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction to be held in Sendai, Japan, in March, Mr. Ikeda mentions that SGI will organize a workshop in which representatives of the three countries will discuss possible regional cooperation in disaster prevention, relief activities and post-disaster recovery. He also hopes to see the establishment of a China-Korea-Japan youth partnership through which young people can cooperate in efforts to realize the SDGs and other trilateral initiatives.
[Adapted from a press release of the Soka Gakkai International Office of Public Information, dated January 26, 2015]