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Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies adopts historic resolution calling for a nuclear free world

November 28, 2011

In a momentous decision, the Council of Delegates of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies has adopted, by acclamation, a resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons and calling on all national societies to conduct educational campaigns about the unique, catastrophic, and humanitarian consequences of nuclear war.

Please read PSR’s David Hart’s blog.  

The resolution was first proposed by the national societies of Norway, Japan and Australia; this issue has been the subject of intense internal debate within the Red Cross movement for the better part of the last year.

Japanese Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War leader Masao Tomanaga addressed the Council before the vote, powerfully describing the immediate and ongoing medical consequences of the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

During the debate speakers repeatedly argued that nuclear weapons were in violation of international  law, but they focused primarily on the inability of the Red Cross to respond the aftermath of a nuclear war.

Both Dr. Tomanaga and Ira Helfand from Physicians for Social Responsibility then participated in a special workshop for national affiliates interested in developing national campaigns to promote a nuclear weapons convention. Dr. Tomanaga shared his data on the long term health problems of nuclear bomb survivors in Japan, and Dr. Helfand presented new research suggesting that catastrophic global famine would follow even a limited use of nuclear weapons.  They offered the full cooperation of IPPNW in developing national educational campaigns about the medical/humanitarian consequences of nuclear war.

While this resolution has just passed, some national affiliates are already beginning this vital work.  Check out the creative campaign of  the Australian Red Cross to “Make Nuclear Weapons the Target” and the ICRC Resource Centre site Geneva: towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Their campaign has blown up on social media.  Don’t miss this article that notes that they have already received 565,000 hits on Twitter and Facebook. 

Read the resolution »

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