Red Cross Attends Global Nuclear Discussion
11 February 2014 at 3:15 pm
Representatives from the Australian Red Cross will attend a global conference in Mexico later this week to examine the humanitarian impact of detonating nuclear weapons.
The Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons is being convened by the Government of Mexico and will be held in Nayarit on 13-14 February.
The conference will be attended by representatives of a large number of international government and civil society organisations, including specialists in areas such as public health, humanitarian assistance, environmental issues and civilian protection, as well as diplomats and military experts.
Australian Red Cross representatives, including CEO Robert Tickner, will join the conference delegation sent by the Swiss-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), which represents Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations in 189 countries.
“This governmental conference provides an opportunity to ensure that the critical issue of the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons is kept on the international agenda, and practical steps are taken to ensure they are never used again,” Tickner said.
“Even a limited nuclear war would have devastating humanitarian consequences, transcending national boundaries and affecting the environment for decades.
“Governments of the world have been driven by humanitarian concerns to create conventions to ban the use of chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions – there is now growing support to ban the use of nuclear weapons on the same grounds,” he said.
The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has called for an international agreement to ban the use of nuclear weapons under international humanitarian law.
Australian Red Cross says it has played a pivotal role in these efforts, engaging with governments on the issue and running a community-based advocacy campaign to raise awareness about nuclear weapons and their unacceptable humanitarian consequences.
“Our Make Nuclear Weapons the Target campaign has now reached one million people through social media,” Tickner said. “This growing community support has been critical in our global efforts to establish an international agreement to ban the use of nuclear weapons.”
The first conference, held in Oslo in March last year, provided a platform for sharing factual and technical information on the humanitarian consequences of a nuclear detonation between governments, international organisations and civil society.
The participants unanimously concluded that there is no type of preparation and capacity in the world that can protect the population of any city from the humanitarian catastrophe of a nuclear explosion.
The second conference aims to broaden the discussion about the damage and risks of nuclear weapons, which remain the most dangerous weapons of mass destruction in the world.
For more information on Red Cross’ work to establish an international ban on nuclear weapons, look here.