Ten Nobel peace laureates sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary General today, expressing great concern over “the recent and increasing threats of violence between North Korea and the United States”. The laureates call on UN Secretary General António Guterres to “organise an urgent convening to address and defuse this potentially disastrous situation,” and made four specific recommendations to alleviate current tensions between the two states.
“The civilian population of North Korea, and its women in particular, have endured unimaginable suffering over the past decades. We must not let violent discourse mute the voices of these civilians, and of peacemakers in particular,” reads the letter. The letter also supports the recommendations recently made by Women Cross DMZ.
On October 6th, the Nobel Women’s Initiative congratulated the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) on being awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize and for their tireless efforts to abolish nuclear weapons worldwide.
Read the full letter and the ten laureates’ recommendations below.
Read the Women Cross DMZ recommendations. Laureates Leymah Gbowee and Mairead Maguire joined Women Cross DMZ in North Korea for the 2015 International Women’s Walk for Peace & Reunification of Korea.
October 11, 2017
H.E. Mr. António Guterres
Secretary-General of the United Nations
Executive Office of the Secretariat-General
New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. Secretary General,
As laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize, we believe that abolishing nuclear weapons worldwide is essential for global peace. We applaud the recent adoption of the first nuclear ban treaty at the United Nations, and extend our full support to you and your office in this endeavor.
We are, however, greatly concerned by the recent and increasing threats of violence between North Korea and the United States. We are particularly alarmed by the explicit threats made by the President of the United States to “totally destroy North Korea” during his remarks at the UN General Assembly.
We call on your leadership to organise an urgent convening to address and defuse this potentially disastrous situation.
Mr. Secretary General, to “totally destroy” a country means the extermination of an entire population of civilians, more than half of whom would be women and children. Such statements have no room at the United Nations, and dangerously undermine its founding principles of peace and respect for international law. North Korea’s increasing militarization, including its nuclear and missile programs is equally alarming and unacceptable.
We believe that bold and proactive diplomacy is the only way forward, and urge you to send a strong message to both states and their leaders to restore dialogue and engage in peaceful conflict resolution to avert a potential global nuclear crisis.
We fully support the recommendations recently made to you by Women Cross DMZ who work globally to bring peace to the Korean peninsula, and call on you to:
i) immediately appoint a UN Special Envoy and a high-level, women-led mediation team, to work towards a non-aggression pact as the first step towards a formal peace agreement officially ending the 1950’s Korean war;
ii) negotiate a freeze of North Korea’s nuclear testing in exchange for the cessation of US and South Korea military exercises;
iii) hold the United States accountable for violating the UN charter with threats of use of force at the General Assembly;
iv) review and consider lifting existing sanctions against North Korea.
The civilian population of North Korea, and its women in particular, have endured unimaginable suffering over the past decades – a quarter of the North Korean population was killed during the Korean War. We must not let violent discourse mute the voices of these civilians, and of peacemakers in particular.
Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1976) – Northern Ireland
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, (1976) – Northern Ireland
Adolpho Peréz Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate (1980) – Argentina
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate (1984) – South Africa
Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Laureate (1992) – Guatemala
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1997) – USA
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate (2003) – Iran
Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Laureate (2006) – Bangladesh
Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate (2011) – Liberia
Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Laureate (2011) – Yemen