A four-day international conference of doctors, lawyers, scientists and nuclear experts from 27 countries concluded in Basel yesterday with the release of the Basel Declaration on human rights and trans-generational crimes resulting from nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.
The declaration draws from the scientific evidence presented to the conference, and the application of international law, to conclude that:
‘the risks and impacts of nuclear weapons, depleted uranium weapons and nuclear energy, which are both transnational and trans-generational, constitute a violation of human rights, a transgression of international humanitarian and environmental law, and a crime against future generations.’
This conclusion was based on evidence of catastrophic human and environmental impacts of uranium mining, nuclear testing, nuclear weapons use (against Hiroshima and Nagasaki), nuclear power production, nuclear accidents and the use of depleted uranium weapons, as well as the risks to current and future generations from potential nuclear weapons use, further accidents and nuclear waste.
The conference also considered alternatives to nuclear energy and the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines. As such, the declaration affirms that:
The energy needs of all countries can be met by safe, sustainable, renewable energies, and that the security of all countries can be met without reliance on nuclear weapons.
In support of the conclusion that countries’ energy needs can be met without nuclear energy, the declaration notes the support to countries available from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and cites the 2015 IRENA Report REthinking Energy: Renewable Energy and Climate Change which demonstrates the possibilities to completely replace fossil fuels by safe renewable energies, without relying on nuclear energy, by 2030.
To achieve the phased elimination of nuclear weapons globally, the declaration welcomes the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and ‘calls on all countries to agree to the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons and to adopt, at the 2018 UN High Level Conference on Disarmament, a framework to implement this.’
Call to action:
To give action to these conclusions, the declaration advances five proposals, which (in summary) call for:
- All countries at the United Nations to promote human rights, the rights of future generations and the legal requirements to phase out nuclear weapons and nuclear energy;
- Revision of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) minimum radiation dose recommendations to incorporate the Linear No Threshold (LNT) concept and to better reflect current scientific evidence of the risks of populations exposed to low-doses of ionizing radiation;
- Better epidemiological documentation of human exposure to ionizing radiation. Legal recourse in courts against those (companies, officials) who commit crimes by exposing populations to ionizing radiation. And compensation for victims.
- Including as a crime in the International Criminal Court, the employment of nuclear weapons and the indiscriminate damage to health and the environment from other nuclear activities;
- Adding courses on nuclear weapons/energy, the violations of human rights and the rights of future generations in law and medical schools.
Click here for the full declaration.