The Hiroshima Flame, which stands in the Hiroshima Peace Park, was lit from the embers of the nuclear explosion in 1945 in memory of those who perished. It will remain alight until all nuclear weapons are eliminated.
The World March for Peace and Nonviolence will carry the Nuclear Abolition Flame around the world, starting from New Zealand on 2 October 2009 – the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday – and then traveling through 90 countries involving millions of people in concerts, rallies, exhibitions, conferences and other events along its route.
"The nuclear explosion was a horror that must never be repeated”, said Alyn Ware, New Zealand coordinator for the World March. ‘The Hiroshima Flame will be carried from city to city – country to country – around the world to remind people that nothing justifies the incineration of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and the maiming of hundreds of thousands more through the blast, fire and radiation effects of a nuclear bomb.’
‘The World March is a demonstration of the desire of people from all countries for the abolition of nuclear weapons, the end of war and the promotion of nonviolence at all levels of society,’ said Mayra Gomez, an indigenous Bolivian who is organizing the August 5 torch-lighting ceremony. ‘It is receiving incredible support from Heads of State, United Nations officials, Nobel Peace laureates, mayors, parliamentarians, indigenous leaders, celebrities, religious communities, youth and other civil society actors.’
‘To avoid a repeat nuclear catastrophe in the future we must act today. We must create consciousness of the need for reduced tensions and cooperation between peoples,’ said Rafael de la Rubia, International Spokesperson of the World March and President of World without Wars. ‘The horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has not been consigned to history. The images of pain and absurd death continue to live in our consciences but at the same time they feed our profound aspiration for a world where never again will this atrocity be possible.’
‘The time to abolish nuclear weapons is now‘ said New Zealand Mayor Bob Harvey who is in Japan for the Mayors for Peace Assembly. Mayor Harvey will be lighting the Nuclear Abolition torch from the Hiroshima Flame on August 5 to take back to New Zealand for the start of the World March. ‘New Zealand - which has outlawed nuclear weapons and was recently declared the most peaceful country in the world by the Global Peace Index – is a perfect place to start this march around the world with the Nuclear Abolition Flame. By the time it gets to the United Nations in May 2010 for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, we hope that the governments of the world will be ready to abolish nuclear weapons worldwide through a global nuclear weapons treaty.’
‘Nuclear abolition has moved from being an elusive ideal to a realizable goal,’ said Alyn Ware who organized the drafting of a model nuclear weapons treaty now being promoted by the United Nations Secretary General. ‘The Model Nuclear Weapons Convention demonstrates the legal, technical and political measures that would enable to complete elimination of nuclear weapons under effective international control.’
‘Everyone can support by participating in the Nuclear Abolition Flame regardless of whether or not they live along the route of the World March,’ said Ashley Woods – founder of the Nuclear Abolition Flame project. As well as the physical flame being carried around the world, there is a virtual flame which is accessible world-wide on internet and email. ’We encourage everyone to circulate the virtual Nuclear Abolition Flame electronically and to encourage governments to act to prohibit nuclear weapons in their countries and abolish them globally.’
‘Youth everywhere are participating in the World March because we want a world of peace not war,’ said Una McGurk, coordinator of ENACT – youth enabling action and promoter of Schools Peace Week which includes the anniversaries of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. ‘Our future depends on the wise use of resources to provide education, health, food, water, jobs and a clean environment for all - not the destabilizing waste of over a trillion dollars on militarism and war. Nuclear abolition is the first step towards such a world.’