Buddhist appeals for human rights culture and an end to nuclear weapons

By agency reporter
January 26, 2011

In a proposal released yesterday (26 January 2011), Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), has called for global civil society to take the lead in resolving two key challenges of our time: abolishing nuclear weapons and building a global culture of human rights.

The statement is entitled 'Toward a World of Dignity for All: The Triumph of the Creative Life'.

Daisaku Ikeda is president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association which has 12 million members around the world committed to the promotion of peace, culture and education.

He has issued annual peace proposals on January 26 every year since 1983, to commemorate the founding of SGI, offering concrete suggestions for resolution of global issues based on his philosophy of Buddhist humanism.

While the issues he addresses are "daunting in scale and complexity", Ikeda expresses his faith, as a Buddhist, in the human capacity to meet and overcome even seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Regarding nuclear abolition, Ikeda explores actions that the world's people can initiate to establish the structures within which states possessing nuclear weapons will move rapidly toward disarmament; forestall further nuclear weapons development or modernisation; and comprehensively outlaw these inhumane weapons through a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC).

To this end, he expresses support for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's call for the regular holding of UN Security Council summits on nuclear disarmament.

Ikeda proposes that states that have relinquished nuclear weapons be regular participants, and that specialists and NGO representatives also address the summits. He suggests that Hiroshima and Nagasaki host the 2015 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, and that it should serve as a nuclear abolition summit.

To move the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) toward entry into force, Ikeda calls for a series of bilateral, regional and multilateral initiatives by which groups of states, such as Egypt, Israel and Iran, would mutually commit to ratify the treaty. A similar arrangement based on the Six-Party Talks could be used to bring about the denuclearisation of the Northeast Asia.

Ikeda reiterates his strong support for a Nuclear Weapons Convention. He stresses that such a convention could represent a qualitative transformation from traditional international law - negotiated solely among governments - to a form of law that derives its ultimate authority from the expressed will of the world's peoples.

Regarding human rights education, Ikeda notes that human rights are not brought into existence by treaties or laws, but through the efforts of ordinary people to correct the injustices they experience or see in the world around them. This means making sensitivity to human rights - our own and others' - part of a "culture of human rights."

Ikeda expresses his support for efforts, centred on the UN, to promote human rights education, and to this end proposes the establishment of new consultative bodies within the UN system. He stresses the importance of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training currently being finalised and describes SGI's initiatives to support this process, such as the development of DVDs and other tools for human rights education.

He also calls for the world's religions to engage in interfaith dialogue on promoting human rights education.


Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.