[103rd Cruise Report]The Path of ICAN and Peace Boat


This is Dave Sweeney, a co-founder of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), 2017 Nobel Peace Laureate. Dave is speaking today on the path of ICAN and Peace Boat, particularly, the path towards the abolition of nuclear weapons including steps until today, the current situation, and the future outlook. After an introduction by Peace Boat staff Watanabe Rika about the relationship between ICAN and Peace Boat, Dave’s partner Kathleen and son Mungo also joined the stage. Kathleen was in fact the designer of this famous anti-nuclear logo. “This symbol states clearly the rejection of and resistance to all nuclear threats”, she told the audience as she explained the meaning of the logo and the design intentions. Mungo was also awarded a prize by the Victorian Parliament for a speech competition where he spoke about climate change and nuclear weapons. A video of this speech was shown – with such a clear and strong message in only a brief 90 seconds, leading to a rain of applause.

ICAN Co-Founder Dave then took the microphone, explaining about the origins of ICAN. The issues of uranium and nuclear waste are important issues around the world, and also in Australia. Even today, land of the traditional owners of Australia is being proposed as a site for nuclear waste. Within such circumstances, ICAN was launched in 2007 in Australia with the goal of prohibiting nuclear weapons, creating a treaty to abolish them, to share the voices of those who have survived the indiscriminatory impacts of the use of nuclear weapons, and to stigmatise these weapons. As at the end of 2019, ICAN had 541 partner organisations in over 100 countries around the world. “90% of nuclear warheads are possessed by the United States and Russia. This means, that they can be controlled,” said Dave. It is also important to spread the voices of those who have been impacted by nuclear weapons, and change people’s understanding of them. Moves are now underway to bring the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons into effect. This will happen when 50 countries have ratified the treaty, and we have now reached 34 states. Dave also spoke of the joy of being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. “This small treaty, is now an enormous weapon in order to get rid of nuclear weapons. We really are at the crossroads, on the path towards banning nuclear weapons,” Dave says emphatically.

Concluding the event was a video of the speech of Hibakusha, Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow. “I have been waiting for this day for seven decades, and I am overjoyed that it has finally arrived. This is the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons! Let’s move forward together. Let’s change the world!” (from Setsuko’s speech). This lecture was truly an opportunity to move together towards a peaceful, nuclear-free world and future.