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International Health Federations Form Historic Disarmament Partnership

Posted by Martin Fleck on May 23, 2016

Nations without nuclear weapons are forging an alliance with civil society groups to stigmatize, ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. Late last year, the United Nations established the Open-Ended Working Group Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations (OEWG). At this month's OEWG meeting in Geneva, the world's leading federations of doctors, nurses and public health professionals, in an unprecedented alliance, submitted a joint paper to the UN titled "The Health and Humanitarian Case for Banning and Eliminating Nuclear Weapons". The four groups, representing over 15 million health professionals are: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, International Nurses Council, World Health Organization, and World Federation of Public Health Associations.

Ira Helfand, MD (seen here advocating with a government official) represented PSR at the May meeting in Geneva and participated in an all-day panel on Humanitarian Impacts of nuclear weapons, and helped persuade diplomats to support the ban proposal. 

Click here for a Kyodo News op-ed about this 4 international health federation joint project. Click here to download a pdf of the full paper.

The OEWG met in February and May, and has seen a flurry of activity, including competing proposals from non-nuclear armed nations and "nuclear-dependent" nations (nations that do not possess nuclear weapons, but include them in their security doctrines, e.g. various NATO countries, South Korea and Japan.) So far, all nine nuclear-armed nations have boycotted the OEWG. The signers of the "Humanitarian Pledge" -- 127 nations without nuclear weapons -- submitted a joint request to the UN General Assembly urging that nuclear weapons be prohibited and eliminated.

The OEWG convenes once more in August. In October, the United Nations General Assembly First Committee (for disarmament) will consider and act upon the recommendations of the OEWG. PSR, IPPNW and ICAN (International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear War) are advocating that the 1st Committee establish a process for negotiating a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

Click here to sign PSR's petition asking Obama to support the ban.

Click below for reports on the OEWG proceedings from:

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

Reaching Critical Will, a project of Womens Intl. League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)



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