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Youth Reps to 60th Anniversary of A-Bomb Use

Youth Representatives to 60th Anniversary of A-Bomb Use

Two New Zealand women have been awarded grants from Rainbow Warrior compensation funds to participate in international youth meetings and rallies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorating the 60th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs in August, 1945.

Julia Johnstone, 24, and Annie Boanas, 23, are travelling to Japan next week to represent the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) at the events with the support of the Council for International Development and the Peace and Disarmament Education Trust – a fund established by the government with compensation money France paid over the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior.

Ms Boanas, who works as a Youth Outreach Coordinator at the Peace Foundation in Wellington, is involved in creating awareness and educating youth about peace and disarmament issues.

“The nuclear issue is as important to youth now as it was when New Zealand adopted its nuclear free policy when we were toddlers,” said Ms Boanas. “Nuclear weapons could be used by terrorists or by governments if conflicts get out of hand – and that would change our future for ever.”

Ms Johnstone, who is completing her Master’s thesis at the University of Canterbury, has recently returned from New York, where she served as the youth representative on the New Zealand government delegation to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, the only delegation to include a youth representative.

“Young people have to be engaged more in issues affecting our future – like the prevention of a nuclear catastrophe,” said Ms Johnstone. “Diplomats and world leaders, even with their experience, have failed to reduce the nuclear threat and achieve disarmament. Youth have a world vision and energy to make the dream of peace a reality.”

Julia and Annie plan to use the trip to gather youth contacts and information for the development of a youth peace network and youth peace resources on their return to New Zealand.


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