[Reprinted from the First Committee Monitor, No.2, 2015, a newsletter published by Reaching Critical Will of WILPF.]
At some point between the NPT Review Conference in May and the general debate of First Committee, the United States decided to rebrand its preferred “step-by-step approach” to nuclear disarmament as the “full-spectrum approach”. Like before, it contrasts this approach with the pursuit of a treaty banning nuclear weapons, which it says is neither practical nor realistic. At some point during this same period, the US also decided it should make the wild claim that any potential ban treaty would undermine international security so much that it could actually lead to the use of nuclear weapons. Read more…
The General Assembly of the World Medical Association, meeting this week in Moscow, has adopted a powerful new resolution condemning nuclear weapons, stating that the medical profession has a duty to work for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and urging all governments to work to ban and eliminate them. IPPNW and its affiliates, many of whose members are active in national medical associations, will work to ensure that this resolution is promoted and acted upon as widely as possible. [Resolution follows] Read more…
More than 50 years ago, doctors who would go on to form Physicians for Social Responsibility and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War published a groundbreaking series of articles on the medical consequences of nuclear war in the New England Journal of Medicine. A new article by long-time PSR and IPPNW leaders Victor W. Sidel and Ira Helfand, challenging the medical community to once again take up the task of banning and eliminating nuclear weapons as a humanitarian priority, was published today in the NEJM.
In the years since the end of the Cold War, the medical community has paid far less attention to this issue. We, like most of the world, have acted as though the danger of nuclear war were a thing of the past. To the extent that we have considered the matter, we have focused on the possibility that terrorists or “rogue states” such as North Korea and Iran will acquire nuclear weapons. Although these are important threats, it is critical that we understand that the greatest danger is posed by the arsenals of the countries that already have nuclear weapons. There remain in the world today more than 15,000 nuclear warheads, 95% of which are in the arsenals of the United States and Russia.1 Of these warheads, some 2000 are on hair-trigger alert. They can be fired in less than 15 minutes and can destroy their targets across the globe 30 minutes later.
These weapons pose an existential threat to humanity.
Tilman Ruff, an expert on immunization who consults with the WHO and the Australian Red Cross, is Co-President of IPPNW and former president of the Australian affiliate, MAPW. He serves as an IPPNW representative on the international steering committee of ICAN, and writes and speaks frequently about the need to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. We asked Dr. Ruff how the prospects for nuclear abolition look from Down Under.
Q: Australia is a non-nuclear weapon state that isn’t known for instigating armed conflict. So how did it happen that you and other IPPNW doctors from Australia are in the forefront of the movement to abolish nuclear weapons?
TR: Nuclear weapons are a global threat. Wherever we live, it is now indisputably clear that if nuclear war occurs even on the other side of the world from where we live, every inhabitant of our planet is vulnerable to the impacts, from radioactive fallout to acute climate disruption and global famine. Read more…
Statement to the UN commemoration of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
30 September 2015, New York
The following statement was delivered at the UN General Assembly by Ray Acheson of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)
Last month marked the 70th anniversary of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The hibakusha, the survivors of these bombings, demand nuclear abolition. So do the victims and survivors of the 2000 nuclear tests around the world, who have had their lives changed forever and over generations. This call is supported by the majority of the world’s governments and peoples. Read more…
By Dr. Bob Mtonga, IPPNW Zambia
Close to 100 countries, closely accosted by over 100 civil society campaigners mainly under the umbrella of the Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC), converged on Dubrovnik, Croatia from 7-11 September 2015 on the occasion of the First Review(1RC) of the Convention on Cluster Munitions(CCM). The convention entered into force five years ago.
In its short yet robust life, the CCM has been a heralded success, with over 70% of cluster munitions held in the world’s stockpiles having been destroyed. Clearance of contaminated lands in affected countries and regions is also going on steadily. These achievements have been tempered with some sobering new statistics. Read more…
by Greg Mello
We cannot easily convey the reality of life and culture in the US nuclear weapons “heartland” but perhaps these images will help. They cannot replace reasoned discourse, or first-hand experience, but they may help supplement them.
It is important for activists, parliamentarians, and diplomats to realize that the US will NEVER negotiate a comprehensive treaty eliminating nuclear weapons, aka a nuclear weapons convention. It is possible that people who have no first-hand personal experience in the nuclear weapons complex, or in the executive or Congress, imagine that the US is more open to disarmament than it is. US diplomats lie continuously and well. Read more…