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PSR lauds UN nuclear weapons vote as antidote to toxic nuclear posturing by Trump and Putin

United Nations moves to negotiate treaty banning nuclear weapons

December 23, 2016


UN General Assembly voting on the resolution. Photo: ICAN

More information:

Ira Helfand, MD, IPPNW Co-president & PSR Board ihelfand@igc.org cell 413 320-7829

Martin Fleck, PSR Security Program Director mfleck@psr.org 202 587-5242

Washington, DC — In an historic victory for nuclear disarmament advocates, a large majority of nations voted today in the General Assembly to convene negotiations in 2017 for a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, leading to their total elimination. Resolution L.41 won by a vote of 113 for, 35 against, with 13 abstentions.

"In the last two days, President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Donald Trump have made irresponsible statements about nuclear weapons, harking back to the worst days of the Cold War. As if to reply, UN nations declared today—with an overwhelming 70% vote—that it's time to prohibit nuclear weapons. The UN majority offers an alternative to the dangerous saber rattling of Putin and Trump,"—said Martin Fleck, PSR Security Program Director.

"Nuclear weapons do not contribute to our security. Rather, they are the greatest threat to our survival. We cannot be comfortable or complacent that 'wise hands' will be in charge of these weapons. We need to move with speed and determination toward elimination before our luck runs out and they are used again,"—said Ira Helfand, MD, PSR Security Committee co-chair and Co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

"It's not wishful thinking to expect that humanity can completely rid the world of nuclear weapons. It's wishful thinking to imagine that we can continue along the current path without an eventual humanitarian catastrophe. Even 100 nuclear bombs exploding in India and Pakistan can unleash world famine,"—said PSR Executive Director Catherine Thomasson, MD.

In a joint statement in May, 2016, the World Medical Association, the World Federation of Public Health Associations, the International Council of Nurses and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War—representing more than 15 million health professionals worldwide — declared, "A proper understanding of what nuclear weapons will do invalidates all arguments for continued possession of these weapons...The only way to prevent the use of nuclear weapons is to ban and eliminate them."

L.41 mandates that the UN will "convene a conference in 2017 to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading toward their total elimination" The conference will convene on March 27, 2017.

PSR, a member organization of over 30,000, seeks to address the gravest threats to human health and survival. The group's motto is "Prevention is the only cure." PSR's international federation, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, received the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Read more about this vote at International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

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