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Global Health and Environment in the Post-2015 Agenda: Lessons from the Fukushima nuclear accident

March 10, 2014
New York City, New York

CONTACT: Human Rights Now NY, march10hrnny@gmail.com
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Alfred Meyer, 202-215-8208 

Global Health and Environment in the Post-2015 Agenda: Lessons from the Fukushima nuclear accident

March 10, Monday, 4:30PM to 6PM,
at Ballroom 1 of the Armenian Convention Center, 630 Second Ave, NYC.

Human Rights Now, Physicians for Social Responsibility
& Women in Europe for a Common Future present:

WHAT:  Almost three years have passed since March 11, 2011, when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami caused structural damage to the TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, resulting in a massive leakage of radioactive materials into the environment. Today, the TEPCO still does not know how to stop the ongoing radioactive leaks from its facilities. Residents are entitled to live in a safe and healthy environment, however, sufficient protective measures and supports are not provided in contaminated areas, and the rights to access to medical treatment and to know about one’s own body have been seriously denied.

Similar nuclear disasters could happen again so long as we have nuclear power plants, nuclear facilities and nuclear weapons.  The Fukushima nuclear accident teaches us that nuclear energy is not sustainable, and that such a disaster cannot respect the environment or the right to health of the most vulnerable. Furthermore, we have learned that contamination from a nuclear disaster can affect beyond national borders, yet we do not have an international framework on the accountability of private companies, which are responsible for nuclear accidents. The international community also needs to continue to discuss the possible long-term health risks associated with low dose radiation exposure, and implement an effective international coordination and response system, to minimize the consequences of nuclear accidents.

A human rights expert from Japan, an environmental and women’s activist from Europe, and a physician/health expert on radiation and nuclear related issues from the U.S. will speak about how to protect environment and health of women and girls from radiation exposure, and the importance of implementing lessons learnt from the Fukushima nuclear accident in a discussion on global health and environment as part of the Post-2015 Agenda. Q&A session will follow the presentations.

WHERE: Armenian Convention Center, Ballroom 1, 630 Second Ave, New York, NY 10016 (35th Street & Second Ave.)

WHEN: Monday, March 10, 2014, from 4:30PM to 6PM

WHO: Dr. Andrew S. Kanter, Physicians for Social Responsibility, USA

Ms. Sascha Gabizon, Women in Europe for a Common Future, Europe

Kazuko Ito, Esq., Human Rights Now, Japan

Please pre-register at: march10hrnny@gmail.com.

Open to public. Admission is free. No UN pass is required.

SPEAKERS:

Dr. Andrew S. Kanter, MD, MPH, Past President of the Board of Directors of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) US, and Co-Regional Vice President of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), has studied radioactive plume projections from nuclear reactor accident scenarios and other public health impacts of nuclear radiation dispersion. He is the former director of Health Information Systems/Medical Informatics for the Millennium Villages Project for the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Biomedical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology at the Earth Institute, Columbia University. He will discuss the PSR/IPPNW critique of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) report on Fukushima (www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/critique-of-unscear-fukushima.pdf) as well as radiation related health issues.

Ms. Sascha Gabizon, Executive Director of Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF). She recently co-authored, “4e: Unsustainable Energy  - nuclear energy: women and men’s different health risks from nuclear radiation,” which could be found on pages 46-51 of the following report: http://www.womenrio20.org/docs/Womens_priorities_SDG.pdf.

Kazuko Ito, Esq., Secretary General of Human Rights Now (HRN), a Japan based international human rights NGO with ECOSOC status. She also serves as a member of the UN Women Regional Civil Society Advisory Group (Asia Pacific), and past chair of the Gender Equality Committee of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. As a part of the HRN activity, she recently participated in fact-finding missions to Fukushima in December 2013 and February 2014. She played an important role in coordinating meetings of Mr. Anand Grover (UN Special Rapporteur on right to health) with Japanese civil societies and evacuees affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident, during Mr. Grover's visit to Japan in November 2012.

CO-SPONSORING ORGANIZATIONS:

HUMAN RIGHTS NOW: Human Rights Now (HRN), an international NGO in consultative status with the ECOSOC, is based in Tokyo with several hundreds of members composed of lawyers, scholars, journalists and concerned citizens. In July 2011, on behalf of a coalition of civil society groups in Japan, Human Rights Now requested the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for a Special Rapporteur to investigate the human rights situation after the disaster. In response to the request, Mr. Anand Grover, the Special Rapporteur on the right to health, visited Japan in November 2012. In December 2012, HRN submitted a joint statement, endorsed by more than 70 civil societies in Japan and worldwide, urging the IAEA and the Japanese government to take a rights-based approach in response to the nuclear disaster based on the preliminary findings and recommendations issued by Mr. Grover in November. To raise awareness of the situation in Fukushima after the nuclear accident, HRN NY has organized human rights seminars and a press conference to inform the international community about the ongoing crisis. (http://hrn.or.jp/eng/)

WOMEN IN EUROPE FOR A COMMON FUTURE: Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), an international network of over 100 women’s, environmental and health organizations implementing projects in 40 countries and advocating globally for a healthy environment for all. WECF promotes a switch away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy towards sustainable and decentralized alternatives. It was officially registered as a foundation in 1994 in the Netherlands following an initiative of European women at the Rio 1992 Earth Summit, to work together for sustainable development and to give a voice and organization to the "Women Major Group" of Rio Agenda 21. Our project work brings safe ecological solutions to local problems in the areas of chemicals, sanitation, energy and food production. Our policy work at national, European, UN and international level brings women’s perspectives to policymakers. We enable women and men to participate at local and global levels in policy processes for sustainable development. WECF implements solutions locally and influences policy internationally. (http://www.wecf.eu/english/about-wecf/).

PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), the U.S. affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) advocates for sound public health policies regarding exposure to radioactive and other toxic materials. PSR is the medical and public health voice working to prevent the use of and to abolish nuclear weapons, to promote safe, non-nuclear energy, and to slow, stop and reverse global warming and the toxic degradation of the environment. Fukushima presents an immediate challenge to protect those individuals most endangered by exposure to dangerous levels of radioactivity, and to adequately and openly track the health consequences of the ongoing irradiation of populations. PSR was founded in 1961 and was instrumental in achieving the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that ended the global radioactive contamination produced by atmospheric nuclear bomb testing. PSR shared in the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), for building public pressure to push their governments to end the nuclear arms race. (http://www.psr.org/)

Please refer to the more detailed full-version commentary