Nobel Laureates Call for End to Ukraine War and Rejection of Nuclear Weapons

The Dalai Lama is one of 16 Nobel Peace Prize laureates that jointly wrote an open letter Saturday calling for an immediate halt to the attack on Ukraine. It also called for an explicit pledge from NATO and Russia that no nuclear weapons will be used in this conflict.

“We reject war and nuclear weapons,” the letter declares. “We call on all our fellow citizens of the world to join us in protecting our planet, home for all of us, from those who threaten to destroy it.”

Backed by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), which won the Nobel in 1985, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), awarded the prize for similar advocacy in 2017, the letter was also signed by ten other individual winners — including Jody Williams, Kailash Satyarthi, and Óscar Arias Sánchez — as well as the International Peace Bureau, which won the award in 1910, the American Friends Service Committee (1947), and the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs (1995).

“The invasion of Ukraine has created a humanitarian disaster for its people,” the letter continues. “The entire world is facing the greatest threat in history: a large-scale nuclear war, capable of destroying our civilization and causing vast ecological damage across the Earth.”

Open letter demands an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal all Russian troops from Ukraine. Official figures indicate that thousands of Ukrainian civilians were killed in fighting over the past month. Millions of refugees fled across Ukraine’s border to neighboring countries, while millions more are internally displaced within the country.

Concern over the possible use of nuclear weapons has been heightened throughout the conflict after Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 27 ordered his military to put its nuclear forces on “special alert” — a move that was immediately condemned as “unacceptable and reckless” by the anti-nuclear group Global Zero.

Since then there has been growing worry that Putin could resort to the use of so-called “tactical” nukes, lower-yield weapons that some have tried to justify as less dangerous or destructive than their larger counterparts. These arguments are: Common Dreams reportedEarlier this week, they were rejected.

Anyone suggesting use of even a “small” nuclear weapon, wrote Ploughshares Fund president Joe Circionne this week has “lost touch with the reality of nuclear war. Even the smallest conceivable nuclear blast would be many times more powerful than the largest conventional bomb.”

In addition to an end of the war and a vocal promise that nuclear weapons would not be used during the conflict in Ukraine, the open letter issued Saturday by the Nobel laureates calls for all countries of the world “to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to ensure that we never again face a similar moment of nuclear danger.”

The letter concludes, “It is either the end of nuclear weapons, or the end of us.”

The full text of the letter and the list of lead signatories — which can be endorsed by anyone on the Avaaz page — follows:

We oppose war and nuclear weapons. We ask all citizens of the world, including our fellow citizens, to join us in protecting our planet.

The invasion of Ukraine created a humanitarian crisis for its citizens. The greatest threat to the world’s civilization is a large-scale nuclear attack that could destroy our civilization and cause immense ecological damage.

We call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and the withdrawal all Russian military forces from Ukraine. We also ask for dialogue to prevent this final disaster.

We ask Russia and NATO to renounce the use of nuclear weapons in the conflict. We also call on all countries and individuals to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons so that we do not face another moment of nuclear danger.

It is now that nuclear weapons must be banned and eliminated. This is the only way for planet residents to be protected from this existential threat.

Either nuclear weapons will be eliminated or we will all die.

We oppose the imposition of threats and rule by force, and advocate for dialogue, coexistence, and justice.

It is possible to create a world without nuclear weapons. Together we will do so. It is imperative that we give peace a chance.


List of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates signed by signatories:

His Holiness The Dalai Lama (1989).
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (1985).
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (2017)
Juan Manuel Santos (2016)
Kailash Satyarthi (2014)
Leymah Gbowee (2011)
Tawakkul Karman (2011)
Muhammad Yunus (2006)
David Trimble (1998)
Jody Williams (1997)
Jose Ramos-Horta (1996)
Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs (1995).
Óscar Arias Sánchez (1987)

Lech Walesa (1983).
American Friends Service Committee (1947).
International Peace Bureau (1910)