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ICRC calls ban treaty entry into force “a victory for humanity”

October 26, 2020

In a statement following the 50th ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the treaty “allows us to turn our gaze towards the future; to imagine a world freed from these inhumane weapons no longer as a distant dream, but as an actual, achievable goal….Today is a victory for humanity.”

Mr. Maurer’s full statement is on the ICRC website.

Nuclear weapons – always inhumane and unacceptable, now illegal

October 24, 2020

[The following statement has been signed by IPPNW’s co-presidents—Tilman Ruff, Ira Helfand, Arun Mitra, and Daniel Bassey—on behalf of the Executive Committee.]

IPPNW welcomes 50 states ratifications and imminent entry into legal force of the historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

On October 24, Honduras became the 50th nation to ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). By crossing the 50 ratification threshold, this means that in 90 days, on 22 January 2021, the treaty will enter into legal force and become international law, binding on the states that have already ratified it, and all those which subsequently ratify the treaty. Honduras announced its ratification one day after Jamaica and Nauru joined the TPNW at the United Nations in New York. This is a historic achievement, an essential step to eliminate nuclear weapons, and an enormous win for planetary health. Read more…

Peace cannot be found through weapons

October 9, 2020

Statement on gender and disarmament

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

[The following statement, endorsed by IPPNW and other NGOs participating in this year’s UN First Committee, will be presented during a virtual session on October 12.]

Chairperson, delegates,

We are facing in our world a conflagration of crises. Climate change, COVID-19, conflicts; as well as fascism, poverty, inequality, and brutality.

At the root of these challenges, among other things, lies patriarchal militarism. A world order resting upon massive investments in weapons and war and the celebration of violent ideas about masculinity. 

Read more…

New START: Arms Control or Arms Racing?

October 2, 2020
Marshall Billingslea and Sergei Ryabkov. Fotos: US Dept of Treasury / public domain and Tasnim News Agency / Creative Commons 4.0

Largely held under the radar, the talks between the USA and Russia have been spectacularly unsuccessful so far. If they do not succeed, then the last bilateral arms control treaty New START will expire in February, going the same way as the INF Treaty before it and taking the last vestiges of our security with it. Read more…

Tilman Ruff: the Ban Treaty has fundamentally changed the game

September 28, 2020

On September 22, IPPNW co-president Tilman Ruff spoke with Jonathan Kolieb of RMIT University in Melbourne as part of the Australian interview series “Better Place.”

The elimination of nuclear weapons, Dr. Ruff said, “depends crucially and fundamentally on those states that own them deciding to get rid of them. The current reality, regrettably, is that that’s not the case. None of those nine states is serious about their more than half-a-century old political, legal, and moral obligation to get rid of these weapons.” Read more…

Protect and support Dr. Denis Mukwege

September 11, 2020

Dr. Denis Mukwege

IPPNW expresses its concern, support and profound admiration for Dr. Denis Mukwege, our physician colleague and fellow Nobel Peace Laureate. Dr. Mukwege has worked for decades with great courage and compassion to address the needs of survivors of sexual violence and to stop the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, in his homeland of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and around the world.

We are pleased and grateful that UN (MONUSCO) peacekeepers returned on 9 September to Panzi Hospital where Dr. Mukwege works, following several weeks of threats and intimidation, both on social media and offline, including death threats, against Dr. Mukwege and his family. Read more…

Surviving the nuclear bomb at Nagasaki 75 years ago showed me nuclear weapons shouldn’t exist

August 13, 2020

[Entire article at NBC News]

Dr. Masao Tomonaga, IPPNW regional vice president

Nagasaki the day after the atomic bombing by the US. Photo by Yosuke Yamahata.

It has been 75 years since August 9, 1945, when the atomic bombing of Nagasaki opened the nuclear weapon age. I was 2 years old, and only 1 1/2 miles from ground zero of the nuclear explosion in there; I was, fortunately, unhurt by the blast itself. I was rescued by my mother from a half-destroyed wooden house just before it burned down.

I am one of a dwindling number of hibakusha — atomic bomb survivors; we are now, on average, 83 years old. Many of us still die of radiation-induced cancers and leukemia from the bombs dropped on our cities in 1945 because that exposure to radiation — when most of us were just 10 years old or younger — led to gene abnormalities in many organs that are still causing malignant diseases today….

[Entire article at NBC News]

Remember each and every person

August 6, 2020

Shin’s Tricycle, courtesy of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

75 years ago the United States detonated an atomic bomb over the City of Hiroshima, instantly killing an estimated 80,000 people and changing the world forever. Just three days after the tragedy in Hiroshima, the United States detonated a second bomb over the City of Nagasaki, resulting in 40,000 immediate deaths. By the end of 1945, an estimated 200,000 lives were lost due to radiation exposure, lack of adequate medical care, and other health complications. We remember each and every person lost as a result of these inhumane bombings and reaffirm IPPNW’s commitment to do all that we can to abolish nuclear weapons, so that humanity never again sees the devastating consequences of their use. We vow to honor the Hibakusha, the survivors of the atomic bombings, with all our actions.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a number of states will ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as we approach the 50 countries needed for it to enter into force.  We can think of no more appropriate way to honor the Hibashusha than this.

Please join Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez, Setsuko Thurlow, and Beatrice Fihn in saluting the newest states parties to the nuclear ban treaty!

When: Thursday, 6 August 2020, 9:30 AM (New York time)
Link to join the event

Making America feared again: the Trump administration considers resuming nuclear weapons testing

July 20, 2020

Nuclear tests, whether conducted in the atmosphere, in the oceans, or underground, have left a terrible legacy of health and environmental impacts. Resuming testing would exacerbate the damage, while also provoking new nuclear arms races.

Americans who grew up with nightmares of nuclear weapons explosions should get ready for some terrifying flashbacks, for the Trump administration appears to be preparing to resume US nuclear weapons tests.

The US government stopped its atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in 1962, shortly before signing the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963.  And it halted its underground nuclear tests in 1992, signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996.  Overall, it conducted 1,030 nuclear weapons test explosions, slightly more than half the global total.

Nuclear tests, of course, enabled the nine nuclear powers to develop bigger and more efficient nuclear weapons for the purpose of waging nuclear war.  Along the way, millions of people in the United States and other nations died or developed illnesses caused by the radioactive fallout from these tests. Read more…

What’s up at NATO?

July 16, 2020

Chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joe Dunford, at NATO HQ in Brussels, 2018. Photo: Dominique Pineiro / public domain

You could be excused for having missed the fact that NATO is in the process of updating its nuclear strategy, including substantial and significant steps. These include technologically more ambitious weapons that can be used more easily. This is the implementation of a decision made at the NATO Warsaw Summit in 2016 to revise nuclear strategy. In order to follow what’s going on, you have to dig deep on the internet. While this is a little easier because of Covid-19, as a lot more is happening online and NATO is just a little bit more transparent that before the pandemic, it is still difficult because NATO discussions are still shrouded in secrecy. Read more…

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