Red Cross Red Crescent reiterates its call for Nuclear Disarmament

Published: 28 August 2015 12:49 CET

Mihoko Goto, Japanese Red Cross

Hler Gudjonsson, IFRC

At the 25th United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues in Hiroshima, Japan, which ended today, representatives of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement emphasized the need for governments to take urgent action to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons through a binding international agreement.

In his speech at the conference, IFRC President Konoe reminded participants that the Movement stands united in working towards the crucial goal of eliminating the threat of nuclear war, stating that, “nuclear weapons and their terrible humanitarian consequences threaten the existence of each and every one of us. In the eventuality of nuclear detonation, no international capacity exists or could ever exist to assist those affected or to protect those delivering assistance.”

Thousands of people are still receiving continuous medical care for radiation related diseases at the two Red Cross atomic bomb hospitals in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Former Director of the hospital in Hiroshima, Dr. Masao TOMONAGA, stressed the urgent need to transfer the experiences from the atomic bombings in 1945 to the next generation while the last survivors are still alive. “I am determined to do whatever I can, since I am also a Hibakusha (atomic bomb victim).” Dr Tominaga stated in his speech.

William Perry former US Secretary of Defence stated the same opinion, calling for greater efforts to raise awareness of the nuclear threat. “The countries that possess nuclear weapons say they would never use them, but it is self-satisfaction. It is very dangerous to believe so.” Responding to his speech, participants in the discussions called for world leaders to visit Hiroshima during the G7/G8 summit taking place in Japan in May next year, to gain a better understanding of how urgent nuclear disarmament is for the future safety of mankind.

At the Conference, which took place only weeks after the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, participants expressed anxiety over the lack of progress in disarmament. These worries are in part triggered by the failure of States to reach agreement on a substantive final declaration at the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in New York in May this year.

The IFRC’s President Konoe, spoke of his renewed determination to mobilize the entire Red Cross Red Crescent movement to ensure greater progress towards nuclear disarmament. Since the end of the Second World War, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has been calling for the prohibition of nuclear weapons, and in 2011 the appealed to governments to ensure that nuclear weapons are never again used.

Quoting the speech of ICRC President Peter Maurer, President Konoe added that “we know now more than ever before that the risks are too high, the dangers too real, It is time for States, and all those of us in a position to influence them, to act with urgency and determination to bring the era of Nuclear weapons to an end.”