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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.”]

TRANSCRIPT OF SG’s APPEAL

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…

Uranium is also a feminist issue

March 9, 2020

by Angelika Claussen

Women’s Strike for Peace-And Equality, Women’s Strike for Equality, Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, August 26, 1970. (Photo by Eugene Gordon/The New York Historical Society)

Around the world, women are resisting the civil and military use of nuclear technology

Women have always and everywhere been part of the history of uranium processing and nuclear technology—as workers in uranium production, as residents in the vicinity of mines, or as victims of military and civilian nuclear disasters. Women are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of uranium production because they are twice as sensitive to radiation as men. Indigenous women suffer doubly, because uranium extraction and nuclear weapons testing takes place in large part in (formerly) colonial areas. Resistance against uranium mining and nuclear technology is supported by female doctors, physicists, and journalists all over the world, who raise awareness about the consequences, which are otherwise often whitewashed or inadequately documented. Nevertheless, women’s role in organizing the struggle against nuclear weapons and energy remains extremely underexposed.

Read Dr. Claussen’s full paper, published online by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung

Dr. Angelika Claussen, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, is IPPNW’s regional Vice President for Europe.

Democracy and disarmament are rooted in humanistic ideals

March 2, 2020

Guest Commentary

by Jason Sibert

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

This fact has rarely been noted in the mainstream media. Naturally, the headlines are filled with predictions on the 2020 US election, the left-wing and right-wing populist movements that are rattling the democratic world, and the geo-political tug-of-war among China, the United States, Russia, the UK, and European Union. Some worry that the way of life we call the democratic republic is fading from our sight.

Few are talking about how the ideals of the democratic republic and nuclear arms control treaties like the NPT are connected. Read more…

ICRC survey finds majority of millennials see catastrophic war as real possibility

January 30, 2020

A survey of more than 16,000 millennials in 16 countries and territories last year – roughly half in peace, half experiencing conflict – commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) explored millennials’ views on conflict, the future of warfare and the values underpinning international humanitarian law, such as the use of torture against enemy combatants.

The results indicate that millennials are nervous about the future, and heightened tensions globally are likely to deepen these fears.

A plurality of respondents, 47 percent, think it’s more likely than not that there will be a third world war in their lifetime. And although 84 percent believe the use of nuclear weapons is never acceptable, 54 percent believe it is more likely than not that a nuclear attack will occur in the next decade.

Read the entire ICRC news release.

 

The road to Armageddon — our two existential threats and the 2020 US presidential race

January 28, 2020

By Robert Dodge

[Originally published in The Hill on January 24, 2020.]

As we begin this new decade, our world faces great peril from two intertwined existential threats: climate change and nuclear war. Failing to solve these two issues may lead to the end of life as we know it.

The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) advises that we must take definitive action to stop climate change this decade or face catastrophic climate events in the future, fueling social unrest and conflict not seen in the past. Read more…

Two existential dangers, one solution

January 27, 2020

On August 12, 1945, six days after the US government obliterated the city of Hiroshima with a single atomic bomb, Robert Hutchins, the president of the University of Chicago, delivered a remarkable public address.  Speaking on his weekly radio program, the Chicago Roundtable, Hutchins observed that Leon Bloy, a French philosopher, had referred to “the good news of damnation” under the assumption that only the fear of perpetual hellfire would motivate moral behavior.  “It may be,” Hutchins remarked, “that the atomic bomb is the good news of damnation, that it may frighten us into that Christian character and those righteous actions and those positive political steps necessary to the creation of a world society.” Read more…

IPPNW statement on Suleimani killing

January 8, 2020

IPPNW condemns the deliberate and calculated murder of Iranian Major General Qassim Suleimani by US forces in Iraq. The killing of Gen. Suleimani in a drone strike authorized by the US President was not only a violation of international law and of long-standing US policy prohibiting assassinations of foreign officials, it has also further inflamed an already volatile region. A war between the US and Iran would have disastrous results and must be prevented.

IPPNW is particularly concerned that, as a direct result of this precipitous action, Iran has declared that it will no longer comply with the terms of the 2015 multinational agreement that has prevented it from developing a nuclear weapons capability. The Trump administration withdrew from that agreement in 2018, despite Iran’s compliance, which had been verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

US-Iranian relations have been strained—frequently to the breaking point—as far back as 1953, when the US helped depose Iran’s elected Prime Minister Mosaddegh, and 1979, when a revolutionary government removed the US-backed Shah and held 52 Americans hostage for more than a year.

The Iran nuclear agreement was seen by many, including IPPNW, as a stepping stone toward a more constructive period of international engagement with a country that will be crucial to any future negotiations for peace in the Middle East. That opportunity has now been squandered through the reckless and, apparently, politically motivated act of a US President who has repeatedly shown terrible judgment in international affairs.

IPPNW urges the US Congress to assert its constitutional authority and to prevent another unjustified war in a region that has been plagued by near-constant war for decades. We also urge leaders in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia to step up in this moment of crisis, and to work with Iran, Iraq, and other directly affected countries in pursuit of a meaningful and lasting peace. One long-overdue step toward this goal would be the negotiation of a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (MEWMDFZ).

All States that have not yet done so, including the US and Iran, should sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and follow through with the elimination of all nuclear weapons in the region and globally.

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