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Your doctors are worried

April 14, 2014

Your doctors are worried about your health―in fact, about your very survival.

No, they’re not necessarily your own personal physicians, but, rather, medical doctors around the world, represented by groups like International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). As you might recall, that organization, composed of many thousands of medical professionals from all across the globe, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for exposing the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons.

Well, what seems to be the problem today? Read more…

The humanitarian initiative and the NPT

April 9, 2014

The third and final preparatory committee meeting for the 2015 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference will convene at the end of April at the United Nations in New York. Central to this Review will be an assessment of progress on the NPT Action Plan adopted in 2010. Sadly, barring some dramatic development, there won’t be much to assess.

The final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference expressed “deep concern at the continued risk for humanity represented by the possibility that these weapons could be used and the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from the use of nuclear weapons.”

The recognition that these consequences are the basis of the disarmament obligations of NPT Member States and, in fact, make the elimination of nuclear weapons an urgent priority, has given rise to a series of joint statements by NPT and UN Member States on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and to two international conferences—one in Oslo in March 2013, and a second in Nayarit, Mexico in February of this year. A third conference will take place in Vienna later this year. Read more…

Humanitarian message is the key to nuclear abolition

April 8, 2014
Ira Helfand (right) and Arms Control Association executive director Daryl Kimball, who moderated the panel discussion.

Ira Helfand (right) and Arms Control Association executive director Daryl Kimball, who moderated the panel discussion.

[On March 31, IPPNW co-president Ira Helfand participated in a roundtable discussion on the NPT and the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, co-sponsored by the Arms Control Association and IPPNW's US affiliate, Physicians for Social Responsibility. The following article is adapted from Dr. Helfand's remarks. A complete transcript, including presentations by Ambassador Desra Percaya, Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations; Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, Senior Research Associate at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies; and George Perkovich, Director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is available at the Arms Control Association website.]

By Ira Helfand

Back in the 1980s there was a very, very widespread understanding of what was going to happen if there were a nuclear war.  We’ve lost that understanding, by and large.  Certainly, in the general population, there is very little understanding about what nuclear weapons can do or even how many there are in the world. Read more…

DEAD — a grave threat to global health

April 7, 2014
Antinuclear demonstration

Nuclear weapons have been a dead end for decades, as these demonstrators recognized during the US-Soviet Cold War.

An uncommon but severe disorder that has been present for over half a century but is not yet officially classified is an under-recognised threat to global health. It relates to the most powerful weapons ever created, nuclear weapons, which have the potential to indiscriminately destroy most forms of life on earth. I propose the term Destruction of Everything Addiction Disorder (DEAD) to describe the condition of those who refuse to give up their reliance on these weapons despite overwhelming evidence of the harm they cause. Read more…

Who likes nuclear weapons?

April 3, 2014

idontheartnukesFrom a humanistic perspective, it may seem strange that many ordinary citizens in countries like India, Pakistan, and North Korea apparently are in favor of the insane nuclear weapons programs of their governments. Maybe they have been brainwashed with terms like national strength, power, and security? Read more…

Planting a Seed: Introducing Medical Peace Work to Medical Students in Africa

March 26, 2014

medical peace work posterBy Dr. Hellen Barsosio, Executive Director IPPNW-Kenya, and Mary Iwaret, medical student, Kenya, Medical Peace Work Africa Coordinator

As doctors in society, we are called to be more than just hospital workers and engage with the politics and social aspects of our society ‘if we are to live up to the highest ideals of the profession’ (Eisenberg, L. (1986) Rudolf Virchow: The Physician as Politician. Medicine and War, 2, 243-250). This was beautifully described by Rudolf Virchow in his famous statement that ‘medicine is a social science and politics is nothing but medicine on a larger scale.’

Medical students growing up in most African countries are confronted and sometimes overwhelmed by the varied needs in their societies including war, disease, poverty, violence, inequality and political instability. With this ‘confrontation’ comes the need to ‘fix’ whatever is wrong. In the past few years, we have noted that African medical students and young doctors are awakening to their responsibility to being more than just hospital workers. One of these areas of awakening is peace work.

Read more…

What if Ukraine still had nuclear weapons?

March 25, 2014

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published a fallacious (and irresponsible) editorial, in which it claimed that “[o]ne lesson to the world of Russia’s cost-free carve-up of Ukraine is that nations that abandon their nuclear arsenals do so at their own peril.” While not exactly claiming that rampant global proliferation would make the world a more secure place, the idea that certain countries depend for their security upon either their own or someone else’s ability to annihilate the world is presented without a hint of irony.

Read more…

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