The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes a recent visit to Manchester and London by the Mayor of Hiroshima and President of the Mayors for Peace, Kazumi Matsui. It also welcomes and fully supports the Mayors for Peace statement on the recent Paris terrorist attacks.
The Mayor of Hiroshima was visiting Manchester to officially confer on it a certificate of thanks for agreeing to be a Lead City of the Mayors for Peace organisation. A special schools event was held, along with a civic lunch and a meeting with senior staff from the Mines Advisory Group. Hosted by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, the morning events were also attended by the NFLA Steering Committee Vice Chair, Councillor Ernie Galsworthy, on behalf of the wider organisation. (1)
The special schools event at Manchester University allowed students from three Manchester primary schools to talk to the Mayor of Hiroshima and the Lord Mayor of Manchester of their hopes for a more peaceful, nuclear weapons free world. Their art, poetry and presentations were an inspiration to all those present at the meeting.
Manchester City Council hosts the NFLA Secretariat and will be commemorating its 1980 declaration that helped to establish the organisation early in December. Manchester City Council has also been a Vice President of the Mayors for Peace since 2001. Both Mayors for Peace and the NFLA are committed to work in their own ways for a nuclear weapons free world.
NFLA sends its deepest sympathies to those affected by the terrible terrorist attacks in Paris. It shares the concern of the Mayors for Peace about the potential for a future terrorist attack in a city using nuclear materials and reiterates the urgent call for a nuclear weapons world. (2)
NFLA also notes a recent Chatham House report around the potential for a cyber-security attack by malicious groups. This suggests a paucity of regulatory standards and a potentially inadequate risk assessment around civil nuclear facilities. (3) NFLA calls on the Government to improve nuclear security arrangements around defence and civil nuclear sites and to be vigilant for a potential terrorist attack using nuclear materials in an urban, built up area.
The Mayor of Hiroshima also attended a special Parliamentary reception where he called on local authorities from across the UK and Ireland to join Mayors for Peace and be active in its campaign to encourage and challenge nuclear weapon states to reduce their nuclear weapon stockpiles. The Mayor called as well for civil society groups to work together to increase pressure to oppose the development of nuclear weapon replacement programmes, such as a replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system.
NFLA Steering Committee Vice-Chair Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
It was a great honour to meet with the Mayor of Hiroshima and to listen to the ways with which Hiroshima and Manchester work together for the joint aim of a nuclear weapons free world. Our hearts go out to the families affected by the terrorist attacks in Paris. Those tragic events show how unstable and violent our world currently is, and I dread the day when terrorist groups acquire nuclear materials to plant a ‘dirty bomb’ in one of our major cities. Nuclear security plans need to be strengthened in the UK and around the world to prevent this happening. The only ultimate safeguard though to prevent such terrible events ever happening is to work together to realise a more peaceful and nuclear weapons free world.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary on 07771 930196.
Notes for editors:
(1) A picture of the Mayor of Hiroshima with the NFLA Steering Committee Vice Chair is attached with this media release.
(2) Mayors for Peace statement on the Paris attacks, 16th November 2015:
“We would like to express our deep condolences to all the victims of the coordinated multiple terrorist attacks in Paris, France on November 13.
“As mayors who have a strong sense of responsibility to protect the safety and welfare of our citizens, we cannot under any circumstances accept such atrocities.
“These inhumane and indiscriminate terrorist attacks have reminded us how vulnerable city dwellers are. If terrorist organizations acquire nuclear weapons that can cause ultimately inhumane consequences, cities around the world would be plunged into unacceptably grave risks. We must abolish these weapons as soon as possible to liberate citizens from their threat.
“We, the Mayors for Peace, in solidarity with around 6,900 member cities in the world, call on the governments as well as the civil society all over the world, to work with us to establish a safe and truly peaceful world.”
(3) Chatham House, ‘Cyber Security at Civil Nuclear Facilities – Understanding the Risks’, October 2015.