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People on the edge but in 2021 $ 6.5 billion more was spent on nuclear

 New pages of the anti-nuclear movement are being written in Vienna and elsewhere these days.


All of us who deal with the issue of nuclear weapons and the efforts to eliminate them, have from today and for 6 days, our minds, eyes and hearts, focused on Vienna. There, we were led 1,000,000 steps, and more, by men, women and children, around the world. There, where the pulse of the international anti-nuclear movement beats, from 18 to 23 June, at the first high-level meeting of the 63 member states of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.


Nothing came by chance. From the very first use of nuclear weapons by the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first steps to eliminate them were taken by natural scientists and doctors, while the first resolution in the newly established UN, explicitly states "the elimination of national weapons of atomic weapons and all other important weapons that can be used for mass destruction ". However, the Cold War period brought a dizzying increase in nuclear weapons and their testing, by air, land and sea. Thousands of people and their descendants continue to suffer from health problems associated with these trials in various parts of the world.


The struggles of the anti-nuclear movement continued with intensity all these decades, from the legendary march of 1 million protesters in New York in 1982, to the huge anti-nuclear movement in Europe and the Peace March in Greece with the arrogant strength of Grigoris Lambrakis and Ososes who followed in his footsteps. And if the START treaties brought reductions in the number of nuclear warheads of the two superpowers, the US and the USSR (and later, Russia), the 21st century begins with grandiose plans to modernize the nuclear arsenal of the nine nations that hold this power.


No one has slept more peacefully all these years. And no one has forgotten what a nuclear weapons conflict would mean anywhere in the world. No one forgot the victims, the environmental disaster, the financial bleeding. The fight continued, with ICAN's international initiative to eliminate nuclear weapons. And in 2017, 10 years after its creation, it managed to vote in the UN, the text of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), an event that gave it the Nobel Peace Prize the same year.


In simple words, SAPO: "Prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transporting, possessing, storing, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons or to allow nuclear weapons to be placed on the ground their. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or motivating anyone to engage in any of these activities. "


Today, 63 countries have already ratified SAPO and are full members. Today, an additional 84 countries have signed it and it remains to be ratified by national parliaments. Today, the region of Central America is the first of which all countries are full members of the Treaty. Today, hundreds of capitals and cities around the world are calling on their governments to ratify the SAPO. Today, already 10% of Greek municipalities call on the Greek Government to sign and ratify the SAPO. (campaign #sosetinpolis)


At the same time, according to ICAN's annual report on nuclear weapons expenditure in 2021:


- $ 82.4 billion was spent by the nine nuclear-armed countries in 2021. $ 6.5 billion more than in 2020.


- 20 nuclear weapons companies received at least $ 19.2 billion in remuneration for nuclear weapons work in 2021 and received $ 30.2 billion in new contracts


- $ 117 million spent by nuclear weapons companies to put pressure on governments.


Nevertheless, due to the entry into force of SAPO, in 2020, 101 capital management companies amounting to 14 trillion. said they were no longer funding programs related to the development, maintenance and modernization of nuclear weapons.


So we are here. In Vienna and around the world. They brought us 1,000,000 and more steps here. And we will not stop until the nuclear weapons and the threat they represent are eliminated. There is no time and space for other discussions. The action against nuclear weapons is intensifying daily and all of us, we can declare present and present in this battle over time. There is no doctrine of preventing the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. There is no political ideology that supports the use of nuclear weapons. There is only one immoral political ideology that supports their existence, just as they are immoral. Now, it is also illegal. New pages of the anti-nuclear movement are being written in Vienna and elsewhere these days, and from person to person, we invite you to take the next steps. Take your own step, one of humanity's next 1,000,000 to a world free of nuclear weapons.


* Nikos Stergiou is the President of the Greek branch of the organization "World Without War and Violence". The article was originally posted on the Pressenza portal.


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