The inauguration of the Exhibit “Cities are not targets (CANT)” at the Permanent Disarmament Exhibit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York took place on 24 March 2011. Among the participants were Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the President of the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly Ambassador Joseph Deiss, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Mr. Sergio Duarte, actor and UN Messenger of Peace Mr. Michael Douglas, Ms. Jackie Cabasso and Mr. Aaron Tovish from Mayors for Peace and three Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors from Japan and Korea). In addition the event was attended by nearly a hundred other participants, among these many Permanent Representatives and delegates from Member States, NGOs and the media.
The new exhibit is an art piece of two columns by artist Eli Elysee containing 1,024,820 signatures for the non-targeting of cities and the abolition of nuclear weapons collected by Mayors for Peace between 12 February 2007 and 26 April 2010. It is the first exhibit which emphasizes the importance of the United Nation’s partnership with a global non-governmental organization. A short video, produced by Lou Rouse to accompany the installation, tells the story of Mayors for Peace, the CANT petition, and underscores the important role of civil society in nuclear disarmament.
Addressing the gathering, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the exhibition underscored the goal of transcending national borders to fight for nuclear disarmament in what he called a “landmark occasion” that helps to build international momentum. “These one million signatures demanding an end to the nuclear threat are the voice of the world’s people. This movement brings together mayors and mothers, like-minded citizens and peace groups. They all understand that nuclear weapons make us less safe, not more,” he told those present.
At the end of the ceremony the three Hibakusha, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Ambassador Joseph Deiss, High Representative Mr. Sergio Duarte, Mr. Michael Douglas and other attendees added their signatures to the petition.
Accessible to all visitors at the Permanent Exhibits at the United Nations Headquarters, there will be the possibility to sign one’s own name into the petition and thereby support the abolition of nuclear weapons and the cause of Mayors for Peace, the Hibakusha and the United Nations.
Mayors for Peace was founded in 1982 by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two cities laid waste by atomic bombs in 1945, and now counts 4,540 cities in 150 countries as its members.