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Physicians for Social Responsibility advocates for the following policy positions to begin to address the risk to our health and security from biological weapons:
- Work with other countries to strengthen verification and compliance measures in the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)
- Fund local emergency responders and FEMA to be able to adequetely coordinate an effective medical / public health response should a biological, chemical, radiological, nuclear or high-impact conventional weapon attack occur
- Provide increased funding for the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program that, among other things, helps Russia and the former Soviet states secure and eliminate their vast stockpile of biological weapons materials and expertise
- Stop pursuing new bio weapons programs, which put our nation in violation of the BWC
PSR calls for strengthened Biological Weapons Convention inspections and protocols to close loopholes
December 7, 2011
Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) applauds the Obama Administration’s decision to send U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference underway in Geneva Switzerland. Recognizing that recent developments in biotechnology and genetic engineering provide the potential to create novel and uniquely dangerous organisms that could be weaponized and pose an unacceptable threat to human health, PSR welcomes such high-level attention to this vital issue.
Secretary Clinton is scheduled to arrive today. The lasting value of her visit will depend on whether the U.S. is willing to reinstate the commitment of previous administrations to strengthen this essential international treaty. At this critical moment, empty rhetoric will not suffice. Our nation must listen to the health professionals and scientists who have urged bold action to prevent manmade epidemics that would be resistant to all forms of standard vaccines and countermeasures, and which would likely overcome even robust medical and emergency preparedness measures.
On such a critical global health issue, the U.S. must lead by example. PSR believes that Secretary Clinton should commit to greater U.S. transparency and enhanced multilateral oversight of its own biological defense programs. In addition, the U.S. needs to provide leadership in calling for strengthened inspection and verification protocols to close loopholes in the current BWC, long recognized as vulnerabilities by many global disarmament expert.
As Amy Smithson, senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies said, Secretary Clinton’s appearance "is a most welcome indication of high-level political attention being paid to the bioweapons ban. But the proof will be in whether she introduces significant new proposals to strengthen the treaty's compliance provisions or continues a regrettable, multiyear trend of more rhetoric about the severity of the bioweapons problem than action to reduce that threat."
We will be watching to see what Secretary Clinton says and what our nation does in the coming weeks and months to prevent laboratory-created plagues of unimaginable consequence. We hope our nation will provide the vision and leadership to preserve and greatly strengthen this vital treaty.
PSR Resolution on Biopreparedness and Smallpox Vaccination Plans
Nuclear Famine: Two Billion People at Risk?
PSR's new, updated report on the global impacts of limited nuclear war on agriculture, food supplies, and human nutrition. Read more »
Zero Is the Only Option
In March 2010, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and PSR docs Vic Sidel and Ira Helfand published a major new briefing paper on the global climate and health effects of nuclear war. Zero is the only option was produced for the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. Read more »
Steps to Safety (for General Audiences)
PowerPoint presentation on how nuclear weapons put the United States at risk today--and how we can reduce and eventually eliminate the danger posed by the thousands of nuclear weapons still stockpiled in nuclear arsenals, the tons of nuclear bomb making material vulnerable to theft by extremists, and the specter of more nations potentially seeking nuclear weapons. Read more »
In the Spotlight
December 3, 2013
Climate Change: Impacts on Public Health
Open to the public, this dinner program highlights the relationship between climate change and health, and provides ideas for mitigation. Featuring keynote speakers Dr. George Luber and Meredith Jagger.