Walkers started anti-war march to NATO
++ Hundreds of Walkers Take International Law ++ +++ From The Hague to NATO Headquarters Brussels +++ The Hague/Gent, Sunday May 16 1999 - This morning aprox. 500 walkers started an anti-war march at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. A colourful group of walkers from all corners of the Earth say to uphold international law with their 200km walk to the NATO headquarters in Brussels. They stated that both NATO's nuclear policy and NATO's controversial and undeclared war in the Balkan, are in violation with international law. The organising group For Mother Earth condemned this morning s trongly the fact that over 100 non-violent marchers from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe have not been granted a visa to participate in this peace march to Brussels. The walk receives the support of Abolition 2000, the international network of over 1300 N GO's working to eliminate all nuclear weapons.
Before the walk the participants were greeted and joined by survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many representatives of Indigenous People also spoke strongly against ongoing colonialism by western nuclear powers who have destroyed their lands with radio-active uranium mines and nuclear tests. This evening three hundred walkers are expected to arrive in Delft.
New people are expected to join the walk as it goes on to NATO headquarters. The walkers receive support all along the way, with free-campsites, showers, organic food-donations and welcomings by elected officials.
The action draws attention to the largest case in the history of the ICJ, when it ruled on July 8, 1996 that 'not only the use, but also the threat to use nuclear weapons, is generally contrary to the rules of International Law.' The Court further ruled that all signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty have a legal obligation to negotiate a treaty banning all nuclear weapons.
For several decades NATO member states have been actively blocking any substantial progress towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons at the UN Geneva Conference of Disarmament. The peace walkers, supported by numerous resolutions in the UN General Assembly, demand the immediate start of an international conference to negotiate and sign a global treaty for global nuclear disarmament.
In response to the developments in the Balkan, walkers also demand an immediate stop to all violence. Both the ethnic cleansing and NATO bombings must stop now. For Mother Earth urges to stop the violence and seek a diplomatic solution, working through the UN and the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe).
The Balkan conflict has had an enormous negative impact on the progress towards security around the world and in particular nuclear disarmament. Russia's recent announcement to rebuilt its strategic nuclear arsenal is especially destabilizing to the post-Cold War relationships. Also the revocation of the 'Nuclear Weapon Free Zones' by Ukraine and Belarus illustrates that NATO miscalculated the consequences when it violated the UN charter to pursue its solo-action and went ahead with the bombing campaign in Yugoslavia.
There were people from amongst others Australia, Belgium, Cameroun, Colombia, Finland, France, India, Japan, New-Zealand, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, USA and UK.
On their trail to NATO in Brussels the walkers will further halt in Rotterdam, Dordrecht, Zevenbergen and Breda. Starting Monday May 24 the walkers will be joined by aprox. 180 Indian farmers in Antwerp. After stops and an official reception at the City Halls of Antwerp and Mechelen, the walk will arrive at the Atomium in Brussels Wednesday May 26 at 6 p.m. It's not yet clear whether Mr. De Donnea, the conservative Mayor of Brussels, will welcome the peace walkers at the City Hall. Or shall he issue a new prohibition on demonstration for the arrival of the peace marchers at NATO, planned for Thursday noon May 27? The walkers will send a registered letter from the Peace Palace in The Hague announcing an international war crimes inspection team. In the letter to Solana they demand transparency about all NATO's weapons of mass destruction stored in Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and the US.
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