We started the Atomic Age — only we can end it!
The Nuclear-Free Future Awards 2017 go to Niger, England, Japan, Germany, and Switzerland
The majority of the world community is calling for a ban on atomic weapons. What had for years brought people to the streets in protests marches has finally made it before the United Nations General Assembly. Today, the 7th of July 2017, could see the historic first step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons: a treaty!
Amongst the activists currently engaged with the more than 130 member states at the UN in New York City are three of our very own: Susi Snyder from the “International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons/ICAN (NFFA Laureate 2016), Xanthe Hall, disarmament expert from IPPNW Germany (NFFA Jury Member), and Alyn Ware, founder of the world wide network “Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”/PNND (NFFA Jury Member).
Since 1998, The Nuclear-Free Future Award, which is endowed with 30,000 USD, has honored people from all continents for their work towards ending the atomic age through the elimination of both military and civilian applications of nuclear materials.
The ceremony honoring this year’s award winners will take place on the 15th of September 2017 in Basel, Switzerland – In cooperation with the international congress “Human Rights, Future Generations, and Crimes in the Nuclear Age” (September 14th-17th, Kollegienhaus, University of Basel, Petersplatz 1).
An internationally representative jury of activists and scientists selected the following honorees in the three categories of Resistance, Education and Solutions:
RESISTANCE: Almoustapha Alhacen, Niger
Almoustapha Alhacen, a Tuareg born in 1957, transported salt via camel caravan before—unaware of the dangers—he began working in Arlit, Niger for the uranium group AREVA. When he saw how his sick and dying co-workers were ignored by the company and how radioactive scrap metal was resold to local craftsmen, he founded the NGO AHGIRIN’AN (“Protection of the Soul,” in the language of the Tuareg). As a vocal activist against both uranium facilities in Niger and the French firm AREVA, Alhacen made the rounds on various TV shows and gave several public talks. In 2015, he lost his job. Even without a source of income, he continues his fight.
EDUCATION: Janine Allis Smith and Martin Grant Forwood, Great Britain
We can thank this two-person CORE (Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment) team for much of what we know today about the nuclear reprocessing plants in northwest England (and, if it were up to the plant managers, never should have known). Behind the acronym are Marin Forwood and Janine Allis-Smith. Since the mid-1980s—when Sellafield was called Windscale—these two activists have sought to unmask and clarify the goings-on at the Cumbrian plant. At that time, the pair’s son—like a conspicuous number of other children in the region—had been diagnosed with leukemia. CORE is an indispensable pillar of the British anti-nuclear movement.
SOLUTIONS: Hiromichi Umebayashi, Japan
In 1980, the solid-state physicist Dr. Hiromichi Umebayashi left his teaching post at the Tokyo Metropolitan Technical College in order to dedicate himself to achieving world peace and to eliminating nuclear weapons. His vision: A Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, no atomic missiles stationed on the ground in Japan, North Korea, or South Korea, as well a guarantee from Russia, China, and the United States that no nuclear weapons would be deployed or used within the zone. Hiromichi’s efforts are gaining growing support: through moderation led by Mongolia, and activities of mayors, parliamentarians, and religious people in the region. Now there are multiple regional forums, involving experts and governmental officials, to advance the vision.
The two Honorary Awards:
SPECIAL RECOGNITION: Jochen Stay, Germany
For over 30 years, Jochen Stay, 52, has used his “X-Tausendfach Quer” campaign to fight against the very real—but still-gainsaid or otherwise trivialized—dangers of handling, transporting, and reprocessing of that element commonly associated with the numerical designator “-92”. “X-Tausendfach Quer” was and is the name of the longest-lived sit-in campaign of the anti-nuclear movement. Since its founding in 2008, “.ausgestrahlt” (another of Stay’s creations) has been used by hundreds of thousands of activists who wish to inform themselves not only of who is protesting atomic energy, but also of when, where, how they can help the cause.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION: The Dedicated – Switzerland’s Anti-Nuke Movement
This award does not go to an individual but rather pays justice to the many facets of Switzerland’s multi-lingual anti-nuke movement. There will be 15 initiatives united under the umbrella, called “The Dedicated”.