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Stumbling in the dark, reaching for the light

July 25, 2013

Tilman RuffIPPNW Co-President Tilman Ruff has written an important, very thoughtful essay on the links between nuclear weapons abolition and human rights for Right Now, an Australian not-for-profit media outlet.

Referring to the three existential threats to life on Earth—collision with another celestial body; environmental degradation, particularly global warming; and the use of nuclear weapons—Dr. Ruff writes that two of the three have human origins and require human solutions:

In addressing such momentous challenges, we need wisdom from all cultures, faiths and ethical traditions; lessons, insights, tools and perspectives from every field of human endeavor; and the recognition that whatever our core business, eradicating nuclear weapons is part of everyone’s business. Like respect for universal human rights, like addressing global warming on the scale and urgency demanded. Nuclear weapons are a critical human rights issue; the most urgent development issue; the paramount sustainability issue; potentially the most egregious violation of international humanitarian law; the most urgent environmental issue; the most profound ethical issue; the greatest blasphemy.”

“Were the Universal Declaration of Human Rights being drafted today,” he concludes,

one would hope that additional rights would be front and centre: the right to live free from the threat of indiscriminate, inhumane weapons, most of all nuclear weapons; the rights of future generations; the rights of people everywhere to access benign, renewable energy sources; and to be protected from preventable, indiscriminate, transgenerational radioactive contamination. These human rights urgently need to become prominent in the global human rights agenda.”

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