Civil society organizations maintain momentum toward a world free of nuclear weapons, By Dr. Ghassan Shahrour,

8 Feb

Ghassan Human Health web2012Vienna

      During the last months of 2012, there has been a series of events organized by civil society actors in different parts of the world to support international efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons regionally and globally. They include:

1- International Conference: Building towards a nuclear weapons-free Middle East: Civil society input, October 13th 2012, Institute for Child Health, London, organized by the campaign of Nuclear Disarmament in UK.

2-“Athens Dialogue” on a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction free zone, November 14th-16th 2012.

3- “The Middle East without Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Way Forward- Civil Society Input” conference, Helsinki December 14th – 16th 2012

     The movement will continue making use of the initiative of the government of Norway to hold international conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons during March 4th – 5th, 2013. That conference should see greater recognition that the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapon use would be unacceptable, and the civil societies hope it will inspire states to begin the work of outlawing and eliminating these weapons.

     To demonstrate that a treaty banning nuclear weapons is both possible and urgently needed, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is planning for a Civil Society Forum on March 2nd – 3rd 2013, which will be conducted in parallel to an intergovernmental conference. This forum will gather a wide variety of civil society actors activists interested in nuclear weapons, humanitarian principles, public health and people’s health, environmental organisations, development organisations, and youth organisations, as well as interested media to learn, discuss, act and join forces for a global ban on nuclear weapons.

     Those events strongly support international efforts to abolish nuclear weapons in the Middle East and the world.

     My colleagues in ICAN, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear Weapons (IPPNW), and Arab Human Security Network have built their advocacy on the facts that nuclear weapons have “catastrophic humanitarian consequences” that include the unique and horrifying medical, health, environmental, and humanitarian effects:

1-If just one of the world’s 19,000 nuclear weapons were detonated, intentionally or accidentally, not only would it kill thousands of people instantly, but, as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has concluded, first responders would be unable to provide the emergency relief so urgently needed.

2- Nuclear Famine: A nuclear war anywhere in the world, using as few as 100 weapons, would disrupt the global climate and agricultural production so severely that the lives of more than a billion people would be at risk according to IPPNW’s research study.

3- There is also an enormous diversion of resources to maintain nuclear weapons at the expense of real health and social needs that are inexcusably underfunded. World spending on nuclear weapons surpasses $105 billion every year, while the estimated cost of fully achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), until 2015 is $135 billion. MDGs, as many of us know, include the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, reduction of child mortality, achievement of universal primary education, improvement of maternal health, promotion of gender equality and empowering women, combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and ensuring environmental sustainability as well as others.

    Another example of the challenges and the needs of the people everywhere is the growing health costs of the people in our aging societies. A recent study released by the world economic forum on September 18th 2011 in Geneva estimated that the global economic impact of the five leading non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes and mental ill-health could total US $ 47 trillion over the next 20 years.

    Our message: Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, most indiscriminate, most inhumane weapons of mass murder ever created. Their use—and even their possession—go against every principle of international humanitarian law and also against the hope of the people to achieve better future for all. 

    * Dr. Ghassan Shahrour, Arab Human Security Network     

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One Response to “Civil society organizations maintain momentum toward a world free of nuclear weapons, By Dr. Ghassan Shahrour,”

  1. MUSA TOGHOZ November 17, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    No 4 Nuclear weapons, thanks 4 your efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons/all must be with you to do that

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