International Meeting
2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Pierre Villard
National Secretary
French Peace Movement

Developing Peace forces solidarity for a 21th century free of nuclear weapons


This first world conference against A and H bombs in the 21st century is very important.

At the beginning of this new millennium, after a very deadly century where human beings invented ways to destroy the entire planet, we must say again our opposition to nuclear weapons.

Yes, it’s time to make a new start and to give to young people a future of a peaceful planet without atomic bombs.  These weapons which were used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki fifty-six years ago are cold war symbols. The cold war has been over for more than ten years now. Nuclear weapons make no sense.  This new millennium could and should mark the prospect for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.  It is a must.  For decades, those in power in nuclear states argued for the deterrent. But recent armed conflicts – like the Gulf war or war in the Balkans – are evidence that all manufactured arms eventually come to be used.

Today it’s wrong to say that nuclear weapons are just for deterrent. All arms can be used one day.  Hibakushas have survived to testify about suffering. I would like to express to Hibakushas the solidarity and friendship of French peace activists.  American soldiers, French soldiers, suffer from the consequence of depleted uranium weapons.  At the start of the twenty-first century, we must start up the debate and the action to demand the abolition of nuclear weapons and a treaty for a complete ban of these weapons.  It is all the more urgent after US plans about N.M.D.  There is a risk that people may now talk about the need for protection instead of referring to abolition.  The best way to protect people and countries against missiles is to eliminate them as well as atomic bombs.  The greatest danger comes from missile loads.

This is why the French peace movement has launched a campaign about “neither NMD, nor missiles – Give peace to stars – Eliminate nuclear weapons”

What’s really a matter of concern with the American nuclear shield is that nuclear states appear not to be in a hurry to do away with nuclear arms.  Yet in New York in May last year they agreed to accomplish the total elimination. They were under pressure of non-nuclear states. It’s also and foremost the result of public opinion’s mobilisation all around the world.  It’s evidence that we must never relieve our pressure.

How can we develop mobilisation against nuclear weapons and make a significant move towards their elimination.  We must make it difficult for nuclear states to denounce the breach of treaties. It is necessary to broaden the pressure of public opinion to enforce treaties. That’s why it is so important to develop active solidarity between peace forces that act for nuclear weapons’ elimination and everybody working to promote a culture of peace. This is particularly important with peace movements from nuclear weapon states.

In September this year, in New York, for the CTBT review conference, we have to make sure we can stop intentions to resume nuclear testing. This applies to the US government, of course, but also the British, Russian, Chinese, or French ones. This means we should emphasize the need to close down all nuclear test sites, in particular in the Nevada.

Kofi Annan proposed in 2000 to hold an international conference on the dangers of nuclear weapons. We should do our utmost to support such a proposal to make sure this conference can exist.

We should also give stronger support to the Convention on the abolition of nuclear weapons as drafted by many international NGOs.

In France, our action aims at urging the French government to take initiatives for such a conference and to stop modernizing the nuclear arsenal, as planned in the upcoming military 5- year programme.

This is why we have started a mobilization and conscience-raising campaigns. Last year, with our “Imagine a peaceful planet” campaign, 130 youth from France were able  to go to the UN, during the last disarmament week. This year, we have started a new campaign, called “let’s open up the avenues of peace”.  It focuses on three  issues, and three figures :

0% new weapons
All nuclear weapons must be destroyed progressively. Arms and new search must be forbidden.

50% less for military spending.
Military budgets must be reduce half size betwenn this decade and being less than 1% of gross domestic product.

100% UN.
Any Peace maintenance operation must be placed under UN’s check.

These  demands constitute a call for a human 21st century with :
-Turning over militarizations
- Constructing a human’s secure
- Promoting the Peace culture

Our campaign get us to demonstrate in front of French nuclear sites.  In April we demonstrated in front of French simulated test site. In May Nuclear Disarmament Days took place organised by French co-ordination of Abolition 2000. Now a comp for elimination of nuclear weapons take place in Brittany near the base where 90% of French nuclear weapons are situated.  They will be meet by a caravan of youth peace messenger.

I propose to send them a message from Hiroshima.

Because we are convinced that public opinions hold the key of nuclear disarmament ways we are favourable to developing the co-operation between peace forces of nuclear states.  To acquaint oneself with other peace activist actions is very important for each of us. It is an decisive element to increase mobilisation.

The 13 of October – choosed like international day against space militarization – can be the next step of mobilization against nuclear weapons and to make of the 21st century  the one of it abolition et the one of advent about a real peace culture .