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The world urgently needs to change course

May 5, 2023

[The following Congress Declaration was published at the conclusion of IPPNW’s 23rd World Congress in Mombasa, Kenya, 27-29 April 2023.]

We are honored to gather in Mombasa, one of Africa’s oldest and most historic cities, for the first IPPNW World Congress on the continent. As physicians, medical students, and health professionals committed to a peaceful and equitable world for all people, we join in solidarity with our African colleagues, who struggle on many fronts to erase the vestiges of colonialism, to end the post-colonial conflicts that have killed millions, and to advocate for policies that will provide health, true security, economic justice, and environmental protection not only for Africa but also for the world as a whole.

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The G7 fails to meet commitment for nuclear weapons abolition

June 7, 2023

by Arun Mitra

Much was expected from the recently concluded summit of the group of seven countries—the G7—which included the USA, the UK, France, Canada, Italy, Germany, and Japan. Since the world is faced with the serious threat of use of nuclear weapons during the on-going Russia-Ukraine war, there was a feeling that the G7 should come out with a clear-cut commitment and time-bound strategy for nuclear disarmament. The summit had special importance as it was held in Hiroshima, a city which faced the catastrophic impact of the first ever use of the atomic bomb on a human population. The final communiqué released after the summit—the ‘Leaders’ Declaration,’ as it is called—does not, however, cite their explicit commitment to take steps to abolish nuclear weapons as a matter of urgency.

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Cooperation, common security must replace confrontation

June 6, 2023

[Dr. Angelika Claussen, co-chair of the German section of IPPNW and the federation‘s regional vice president for Europe, gave the following speech in Germany’s national parliament, the Bundestag, on  8 May.]

You have scheduled this hearing on 8 May, the anniversary of the end of the Second World War. With this commemoration, you have set an example for the future and for disarmament, for building a peace order. I thank you for this. 

The world is in profound, multiple crises. The climate crisis and the increasing danger of nuclear war are the two greatest threats in the 21st century.

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How strengthened global governance could produce a nuclear-free world

May 22, 2023

It should come as no surprise that the world is currently facing an existential nuclear danger.  In fact, it has been caught up in that danger since 1945, when atomic bombs were used to annihilate the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Today, however, the danger of a nuclear holocaust is probably greater than in the past.  There are now nine nuclear powers―the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea―and they are currently engaged in a new nuclear arms race, building ever more efficient weapons of mass destruction.  The latest entry in their nuclear scramble, the hypersonic missile, travels at more than five times the speed of sound and is adept at evading missile defense systems.  

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The Pacific Ocean must not be a radioactive waste dump

May 15, 2023

[The following statement, adopted by the IPPNW Board during the 23rd World Congress in Mombasa, was not endorsed by Japanese Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (JPPNW)]

Medical call to Japan to abandon the planned release of over 1.3 million tons of radioactively contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster into the Pacific Ocean

As physicians with professional responsibility to promote and protect long-term human and planetary health, we urge the Government of Japan to stop the planned release of large amounts of radioactively contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean. We consider that the plan to use the Pacific Ocean has a radioactive waste dump involves risks to oceanic and human health and is neither responsible nor sustainable.  

Instead we urge full, evidence-based and transparent consideration of several viable alternative approaches, including storage in purpose-built seismically safe tanks, possibly after initial purification, subsequent use in concrete for structural applications with little or no potential for contact with humans and other organisms, and bioremediation for some important isotopes such as strontium-90. All the proposed alternatives would have orders of magnitude less impact and avoid transboundary impacts.

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The solution to climate change must include nuclear disarmament

May 15, 2023

by Carlos Umaña

From left: Edwick Madzimure (Founding Director, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Zimbabwe), Dr. Ruth Mitchell (IPPNW Board Chair, Australia), Dr. Carlos Umaña (IPPNW Co-President, Costa Rica), and Dr. Kelvin Kibet (IPPNW African Regional Vice President & IPPNW Deputy Board Chair, Kenya) Photo: Bimal Khadka

[Co-President Carlos Umaña delivered the following remarks during the opening plenary of IPPNW’s 23rd World Congress in Mombasa, Kenya, on April 26.]

Climate change and nuclear weapons are the 2 existential threats to life on Earth. They are referred to as the twin existential threats, for they are intricately linked and mutually reinforcing. With the world’s climate being as unpredictable and changing as it currently is, the climate crisis is impossible to ignore. However, most people do ignore how serious the risk of nuclear war is, and how working in nuclear abolition can help solve the climate crisis.

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Mombasa Appeal for peace and prevention of nuclear war

May 5, 2023

[The following demand for a ceasefire in Ukraine and negotiations for a peaceful solution to a war that risks escalation to a nuclear catastrophe was issued by IPPNW’s International Council and Board of Directors at the conclusion of the 23rd IPPNW World Congress in Mombasa.]

At our 23rd World Congress in Mombasa in April 2023, we, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, discussed the risks and impending consequences of the current, crisis situation on our planet. The war in Ukraine bears enormous costs for people mainly, but not only in Ukraine and causes unspeakable suffering. So many civilians and soldiers from both sides have lost their lives, health and livelihoods. In addition, global food supplies have already suffered and prices for essential goods are rising. According to current figures, hunger in Africa threatens to increase by 117% if the war is not stopped immediately.

Crucially there is a real and growing risk that the world will enter a nuclear war in the near future. With every day of the ongoing war in Ukraine, this risk increases.

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Nuclear weapons: a big threat to Africa, too

April 29, 2023

by Sally Ndung’u

7th July 2017 the United Nations adopted a new nuclear ban treaty- the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

A single nuclear bomb detonated in any part of the world could kill millions of people with the destruction extending far beyond the area of explosion. Those who remain would be at increased risk of cancer and chronic diseases over time and suffer genetic mutations that would persist through generations. If there were a nuclear war, even a limited one, the main cause of human fatalities would however not be the blast or radiation effects but mass starvation, and this brings the issue of nuclear weapons closer to you and I here in Africa!

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Those of us living today have been given the opportunity to save the world

April 18, 2023

[On 13 April, IPPNW co-president Ira Helfand was awarded the prestigious “Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders’ Prize” from Morehouse College. The award was given “to recognize and pay tribute to [his] passionate and nonviolent struggle to prevent humanity from falling victim to the horrors of nuclear disaster.” Dr. Helfand gave the following address at the award ceremony in in Atlanta, Georgia.]

Ira Helfand accepts the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders’ Prize from Morehouse College in Atlanta: “We have made [nuclear weapons] with our own hands and we know how to take them apart.”

President Thomas, Dean Carter,  thank you for the great honor you have bestowed on me today with this Award.  

You know, in past years Morehouse has presented this Award to icons of the Civil Rights Movement, to statesmen and world leaders.  So this year’s choice is a bit of an anomaly, a bit of an outlier.  I am none of these things.  I’m just a medical doctor who has spent most of the last 45 years working in the ER of a community hospital and in a small urgent care who tried to raise my voice, as a doctor, about the greatest threat to human health and survival in the world today.

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From nationalist isolation to global citizenship

April 10, 2023

For many years, a portion of the world public has sought to wall itself off from people abroad by hiding behind national borders.

In the United States, this tendency became an important element in American politics.  During the 1920s and 1930s, the Republican Party embraced isolationism and spurned the new League of Nations.  Indeed, for a time, President Warren G. Harding’s State Department refused to even acknowledge correspondence from the League.  Republican leaders also played a key role in the America First Committee, founded in 1940 to oppose US aid to Britain in its lonely resistance to the fascist military onslaught.  Admittedly, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the GOP shifted course, backing US participation in World War II and the development of the United Nations.  In the postwar years, however, this internationalist approach gradually dissipated, especially as the Republican Party lurched rightward.  Increasingly, the GOP portrayed international treaties and foreigners as threats to “the American way of life.”

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