Bike for peace takes the No-First-Use message to Geneva

Bike for Peace, a participating organization in NoFirstUse Global and a member of Abolition 2000, undertook a biking tour in Switzerland from August 26-31, to promote nuclear risk-reduction and disarmament.

A team of cyclists from Norway and New Zealand, led by partially blind cyclist Tore Naerland, undertook bike rides in Lausanne, headquarters of the International Olympic Committee, to highlight the role of sport to promote peace, and in Geneva to support United Nations initiatives for nuclear disarmament and to highlight disarmament diplomacy that takes place in Geneva such as the Russia-US Strategic Stability Dialogue.

Tore, who launched Bike for Peace in 1977, rides on a tandem bicycle with a fully sighted companion rider. Since then he has led peace bikes rides in over 115 countries around the world.

In Geneva, Bike for Peace started with a bike ride to Villa la Grange, the venue for the June 16 Summit between Presidents Joseph Biden and Vladimir Putin. At this summit, the two leaders affirmed ‘the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’ and agreed to embark together on an integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue.

Bike for Peace is a participant in the NoFirstUse Global initiative which calls on the leaders to discuss and adopt No-First-Use policies as an important step to achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Members of Bike for Peace were also amongst the 1200 endorsers of a Joint Letter to Presidents Biden and Putin sent just prior to their summit calling on them to affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, and to implement this by adopting no-first-use policies as a first step towards nuclear disarmament.

On August 29, Bike for Peace held a commemoration event for the International Day Against Nuclear Tests at Place des Nations in front of the United Nations. The event included presentations by a representative of the Director General of the United Nations in Geneva and a representative of the UN Mission of Kazakhstan – the country which introduced the UN resolution establishing the International Day Against Nuclear Tests – as well as speakers from Bike for Peace and Youth Fusion, the global youth network for nuclear abolition.

The August 29 commemoration event also included a minute of silence for the victims of nuclear tests at 11:05, the time proposed by the ATOM Project (Against Testing Our Mission) and its Honorary Ambassador Karipbek Kuyukov. Mr Kuyukov is a second generation victim of Soviet nuclear tests in Kazakhstan. The north-eastern region of Kazakhstan has been devastated by over 450 nuclear tests conducted by the Soviet Union from 1949 until 1991.

On August 30, Bike for Peace rode to the UN Missions of the Russian Federation and the United States and met with Ambassadors of the missions to discuss nuclear disarmament, an in particular to encourage them to agree in their Strategic Stability Dialogue to adopt concrete steps including No-First-Use policies.

Bike for Peace also rode to the UN Mission of France, the country coordinating the P5 (nuclear armed states) dialogue in the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review process). There they met with the French Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, who is himself a long-distance cyclist, and discussed concrete disarmament steps for the P5. At all three missions, Bike for Peace delivered a letter calling on the governments to adopt measures to prevent nuclear war, such as No-First-Use policies, and to commit to the global elimination of nuclear weapons no later than 2045, the 100th anniversary of the UN.

Also on August 30, the Kazakhstan Mission to the UN held a reception in honour of Bike for Peace and the Library of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, representatives of which were also in Geneva to conclude an agreement with the UN library regarding receipt of scientific information on the impacts of nuclear testing in Kazakhstan.

The tour concluded on August 31, with Bike for Peace leader Tore Naerland being a speaker for a commemoration event at the Palais de Nations (United Nations in Geneva) for the International Day Against Nuclear Tests. The event was organised by the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the United Nations.

Visit the Bike for Peace and Swiss bike tour facebook pages for more photos of the tour.

Cover photo: Bike for Peace at Villa la Grange, venue for the June 2021 USA/Russia Summit