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COVID-19 and nuclear weapons

May 16, 2020

This coronavirus can teach us a lot if we are willing to learn.

It shows where the real threats to our security lie, for which massive military arsenals and the most powerful WMD are not only useless, but get in the way.

It shows our interconnected vulnerabilities and capacities, that globalized problems respect no borders, are shared and demand cooperative solutions.

Read the full article at Croakey Health Media.


Online Youth Assembly for peace, environment, and justice

May 7, 2020
On May 2nd, IPPNW, Peace Action New York State, SGI, PEAC Institute, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Beyond the Bomb, and many others hosted an online Youth Assembly. Originally scheduled to take place in-person before the NPT Review Conference, this event set out to bring youth from around the world together to discuss the biggest threats to our future and what we can do to advocate for a more safe and just world for all.

Read more…

“Don’t make new socks for me”: 75 years after the end of World War II

May 2, 2020

By Dr. Lars Pohlmeier

View of destroyed buildings on a city street in Germany at the end of World War II; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

This year we commemorate 75 years since the end of World War II. I was born 24 years after the end of it, in the city of Bremen in Germany. When I was young I thought: “The war? What a long time ago.” Now, at the age of 51, I realize how little time had passed. Of course I have no personal memories or experiences of wartime, but my life was influenced by those who had suffered. It is important to keep the memories and the debate alive, so that history will not repeat itself. This is why I wrote this text.

“Don’t make new socks for me.” This sentence comes from a letter my grandfather wrote to my grandmother in the winter of 1944 to 1945. My grandfather was a Wehrmacht soldier at the eastern front “defending” Nazi Germany somewhere near what today is part of Poland. Read more…

Nuclear weapons, the climate crisis, social justice, and the COVID-19 pandemic

April 27, 2020
An online international conference sponsored by the Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung NYC on April 25 provided a unique opportunity for the world’s nuclear disarmament campaigns, allied movements and organizations, and diplomats committed to banning and eliminating nuclear weapons to amplify nuclear abolition demands and to show how the nuclear dangers interconnect with the threats posed by climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the injustices of our world.
Among the speakers at “Abolish nuclear weapons; resist and reverse the climate crisis; for social and economic justice,” which was co-sponsored by IPPNW, was regional vice president for Latin America Carlos Umaña, who discussed ICAN and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (at the 20:15 mark in the conference video).
United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu addressed the Hibakusha Signature Appeal Campaign.

Will the Coronavirus pandemic help curb war and militarism?

April 14, 2020

Decades ago, when I began teaching international history, I used to ask students if they thought it was possible for nations to end their fighting of wars against one another.  Their responses varied.  But the more pessimistic conclusions were sometimes tempered by the contention that, if the world’s nations faced a common foe, such as an invasion from another planet, this would finally pull them together.

I was reminded of this on March 23, when the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, called for “an immediate global ceasefire.” The time had come, he said, to “end the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world.”  A UN summary noted that the Secretary-General had “urged warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against COVID-19: the common enemy that is now threatening all of humankind.” Read more…

The coronavirus pandemic, like other global catastrophes, reveals the limitations of nationalism

April 7, 2020

We live with a profound paradox.  Our lives are powerfully affected by worldwide economic, communications, transportation, food supply, and entertainment systems.  Yet we continue an outdated faith in the nation-state, with all the divisiveness, competition, and helplessness that faith produces when dealing with planetary problems. Read more…

We can’t afford another global health crisis

March 26, 2020

The year is 2025. The entire world is in disarray. In some parts of the world, medical facilities are overwhelmed; doctors and nurses are exhausted, and the rest of the world is struggling to help. The economy is crashing. No one knows how long it will last because no one has lived through something like this before. It happened in a couple of countries but it didn’t take long before the effects spread to every country on earth.

No, we’re not talking about another pandemic. We’re describing the aftermath of a very limited nuclear war.  A full scale nuclear war would kill hundreds of millions the first day and plunge the world into a human-made nuclear ice age within a week, ending the world as we know it. Read more…

IPPNW Statement on COVID-19

March 25, 2020
As Covid-19 overtakes the world, the interconnectedness of our modern human family has never been clearer. Hopefully, more people and world leaders will now come to understand what IPPNW has long advocated: working proactively to prevent threats to global health and survival, rather than waiting to respond to the next pandemic or the use of nuclear weapons, is imperative. It is time to end the diversion of resources to militarism and war, and the stationing of thousands of civilization-ending nuclear weapons on 24-7 hair-trigger alert.  It’s time to prioritize social investments that promote and protect human health and wellbeing. IPPNW adds it’s full-throated endorsement to the UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire in order to conquer coronavirus.  “End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world. It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now.”

Keep well and follow public health recommendations to protect yourself, your family, your community, and society. Stay connected via IPPNW’s social media on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Secretary-General appeals for global ceasefire

March 24, 2020

[In an appeal issued on Monday, March 23, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against  COVID-19: the common enemy that is now threatening all of humankind. IPPNW wholeheartedly endorses the Secretary-General’s proposal, and urges all nations to “put armed conflict on lockdown.”]


Our world faces a common enemy: COVID-19. The virus does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith.  It attacks all, relentlessly. Meanwhile, armed conflict rages on around the world. The most vulnerable — women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced — pay the highest price. They are also at the highest risk of suffering devastating losses from COVID-19.

Let’s not forget that in war-ravaged countries, health systems have collapsed. Health professionals, already few in number, have often been targeted. Refugees and others displaced by violent conflict are doubly vulnerable. The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.

That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. Read more…

Thyroid cancer increasing nine years after Fukushima

March 17, 2020
Fukushima Medical University has published new thyroid cancer data from its ongoing screening study of children exposed to radioactive contamination from the March 2011 reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. The new data, according to an article by Dr. Alex Rosen, co-chair of IPPNW-Germany, shows a disturbing increase in the number of thyroid cancer cases and increased numbers of nodules and cysts in the thyroid glands of children participating in the screenings.

“The official rate of new cases of thyroid cancer in children under 25 years of age in Japan in the ten years 2000-2009 was 0.59 per 100,000 per year. Today, nine years after the beginning of the nuclear catastrophe in the investigated population of about 218,000 patients, 11.5 thyroid cancer cases would have been expected.

However, the actual number of thyroid cancer cases in Fukushima is significantly higher: the 197 diagnosed cases in the study cohort represent an increase by a factor of 17 compared to the expected number of cases (197:11.5).” A closer look at the numbers, Dr. Rosen says, suggests that the ratio may be 23:1 or even higher.

Dr. Rosen also cautions that the number of participants in the screenings has gone steadily down since 2011, resulting in an incorrect inference that the number of new cancers has gone down, when, in fact, they are merely going undetected or unreported.

“We continue to see a significant increase in new cases of thyroid cancer in children and adolescents in Fukushima,” Dr. Rosen concludes. “Currently, the ratio of diagnosed cases of thyroid cancer to expected cases is 23:1. Due to the developments outlined in this paper, these figures are likely to be a systematic underestimation, as became apparent by the newly published thyroid cancer cases diagnosed outside the study protocol.”

Dr. Rosen’s article was published this month by IPPNW-Germany.

Read more…

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