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In his historic visit to Hiroshima, President Obama restated his desire for a world free of nuclear weapons. Please write a letter advocating concrete actions to achieve this.
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility was founded in 1980 by a group of local physicians and scientists who were galvanized to help advocate against nuclear weapons and work for the cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. They also helped evaluate the health of those downwind and downstream from radioactive iodine releases from Hanford. The Oregon PSR board, staff and members have given almost 30 years of time, effort and financial support, investing in the day that our nation, the only country to use nuclear weapons, will lead the world in abolition of these horrible, ill-conceived weapons of mass destruction. Email us if you want to join our Peace and Security Work Group to work on nuclear abolition in our state.
The United States is more vulnerable than ever to a nuclear weapon attack by terrorist groups who have no stake in deterrence, and who see our nation as the worst military aggressor of our time. Reducing our nuclear stockpiles decreases the chance of someone else stealing one or releasing radioactive materials to hurt our citizens or our allies. (General Gard and Travis Sharp, Center for Arms Control)
Presidents Obama and Medvedev signed a 'joint understanding' on broad goals of negotiations aimed at replacing the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treat (START) on July 6, 2009. There is bi-partisan Congressional support for nuclear weapons reduction. The United States and Russia currently share 95 percent of all the world's nuclear weapons.
Decreased weapons translate to decreased vulnerability to terrorists stealing nuclear materials, which would most likely be aimed at the U.S. With a minimum of 1,500 nuclear weapons still viable and untouched by a new START treaty, the U.S. would in no way be seen as acquiescing to Russia, but instead this treaty would assist the U.S. in becoming a world leader on the path to a nuclear weapons-free world. www.wilpf.org/WeCanAbolishNuclearWeapons. One hundred and twenty seven countries are already in favor of a draft treaty at the United Nations calling for nuclear abolition. Help demand that the U.S. become county number 128. The next international treaty hurdle will be to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and to establish a Fissile Materials Cutoff treaty.
A copy of the Draft Treaty at the United Nations can be found here.
Nuclear weapons proliferation and nuclear terrorism pose a grave threat to the United States and the world. At the Moscow Summit today Russian President Medvedev and President Barack Obama committed to a follow-on agreement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty I (START) to be concluded by December, 2009. This new treaty will reduce U.S and Russian nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles, and will require verification of these reductions. More information can be found here.
The time has finally arrived to rid the world of nuclear weapons. To seize this historic opportunity, thousands of Americans and more than 100 coalition partner organizations across the United States have joined forces to create the Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World.
Oregon PSR is one of those coalition partners which is working for a nuclear-free future for our children. Instead of spending $16.5 billion taxpayer dollars (2009 Department of Energy budget) on nulcear weapons, this tax money could be spent on universal health care, college education grants and scholarships, or sea port container inspection to guard our public safety (www.nationalpriorities.org). Oregon PSR would love to have your organization increase our efforts in Oregon.
On March 23, 2009, Oregon PSR physicians and academic leaders, Rudi Nussbaum, Ph.D, Stephen R. Jones, M.D., and James Yamasaki, M.D. joined the international medical appeal to Presidents Obama and Medvedev “to end the nuclear weapons era once and for all.” An article on IPPNW and PSR's appeal can be found here
'What do doctors have to do with nuclear war?' That’s invariably the first question I get when I say I work for IPPNW.
For the 300 or so prominent physicians who have just signed a letter calling on US President Obama and Russian President Medvedev to partner up and rid the world of nuclear weapons, the answer to that question is self evident: the consequences of a nuclear war—the overwhelming numbers of casualties, the horrific nature of the injuries among survivors, the destruction of hospitals and other health facilities, the cancers and genetic damage carried over into future generations—would leave them helpless to respond"
On June 24, 1982, at the second United Nations Special Session on Disarmament held at U.N. Headquarters in New York, the then-Mayor Takeshi Araki of Hiroshima proposed a new 'Program to Promote the Solidarity of Cities toward the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons'. This proposal offered cities a way to transcend national borders and work together to push for nuclear abolition. Subsequently, the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki called on mayors around the world to support this cause.
Mayors for Peace is composed of cities throughout the world that have formally expressed support for the program that Mayor Araki announced in 1982. In March 1990, the Mayors Conference was officially registered as a U.N. NGO affiliated with the Department of Public Information. In May 1991, it became a Category II NGO (currently called an NGO in "Special Consultative Status") registered with the Economic and Social Council. As of December 1st, 2008, membership stood at 2,536 cities in 133 countries and regions all over the world. Read about this movement and their goals for a nuclear-free world here.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was launched in 2007. The goal of ICAN is to reawaken public concern about the growing threat posed by nuclear weapons, and to mobilize civil society to demand a nuclear-weapon-free world through the negotiation and adoption of a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
ICAN activists, who include IPPNW doctors and medical students as well as the members of partner organizations in many countries, make the case that, along with global warming, nuclear war is the greatest preventable danger facing humankind. IPPNW focuses in particular on medical issues such as the climate effects of regional nuclear war ("nuclear famine"), the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in radiopharmaceutical production, and the health impacts of an expanding uranium mining industry. Read more about the international grassroots campaign here.
Women for the International League for Peace and Freedom outline the 13 steps for fully achieving the goals in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. At the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT, the following practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts to achieve complete disarmament were agreed on by all governments signed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Read the 13 steps here. For detailed information on the NPT, check out the WILPF site here.
Physicians first confronted the medical consequences of the use of nuclear weapons on August 6, 1945, when surviving medical personnel struggled to care for the massive casualties in the aftermath of the Hiroshima nuclear explosion. Excerpts from Medicine and Nuclear War: Preventing Proliferation and Achieving Abolition, by L. Forrow, V.W.Sidel, and J.E. Slutzman. 2007 are available here.
In England, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is working on the largest demonstration against U.S. missile defense in recent years. The demonstrators formed a long procession as they marched along the A169 to the main gates of the base, where they handed a letter of protest to Base Commander Greg Hammond. The letter called on the government to note public opposition against U.S. missile defense and the obstacles the system presents to pushing toward the new international disarmament agenda that is currently being discussed by the United States and Russia. A YouGov opinion poll shows almost three fifths (58%) of people agree that the siting of components of the US Missile Defense system in the UK and Europe will increase international tension between the U.S. and Russia and, as a result, increase the threat to UK and European security. Read more here.
A Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone, or NWFZ, is defined by the United Nations as an agreement, generally by internationally recognized treaty, to ban the use, development, or deployment of nuclear weapons in a given area. Additionally, this agreement has mechanisms of verification and control to enforce its obligations.