Beating swords into ploughshares

Justin Dickie
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Pugwash Conferences begin

PUGWASH - The Pugwash Conferences have returned to Pugwash.

For the first time since the inaugural conferences in 1957, scientists and experts on world affairs have returned to discuss ways to attain disarmament and world peace.

Last night the conferences began with a disarmament discussion focusing on creating a path to a nuclear weapons-free world.

During the panel dialogue, discussion centred around the amount of resources countries put into weapons of mass destruction.

Jayantha Dhanapala, former UN under-secretary-general for Disarmament affairs, said $1084 per person in the world is spent on nuclear weapons.

"There are people in this world living off two dollars a day," said Marian Hobbs, New Zealand's minister of disarmament and arms control.

"We need to evaluate the choices our governments make," Dhanapala said, adding that more and more money is being put into weapons all the time and less money put into things like environment and healthcare. "There are new weapons being invented."

The panel agreed that with the state the weapons situation is at, an attack now would be far worse than what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Dhanapala said Canada has done a good job with helping the movement toward disarmament with peacekeeping and peace-building, but there are still many strides to be made.

Those strides lie in getting the citizens in this country under the age of 30 to vote and make a change, said Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire.

Hobbs felt the way the political system operates turns young people off because "it's the exact opposite of how children are taught to act."

Organizations: UN

Geographic location: Pugwash, New Zealand, Hiroshima Nagasaki Canada

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