The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today commemorated the 69th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, with a joint statement calling on the ‘International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and indeed the entire world, to reflect on the dangers of these weapons and remind ourselves of the need to prohibit and eliminate them once and for all time.’
The statement, by Tadateru Konoe (President, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) and Peter Maurer (President, International Committee of the Red Cross), recalls the involvement of the ICRC/IFRC movement in the nuclear debate since the moment the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August, 1945. Since then the movement has highlighted the inhumanity and apparent illegality of nuclear weapons on numerous occasions including resolutions adopted by the movement in 1948, 1952, 2011 and 2013, and through opinion offered to the International Court of Justice in the 1994 Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons.
Konoe and Maurer note that ‘the use of any nuclear weapon would be catastrophic and would raise serious concerns under international humanitarian law. Indeed, more than ever, we find it difficult to envisage how any use of these weapons could be consistent with this body of law.’
They appealed to States ‘to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again and to pursue negotiations to prohibit and completely eliminate nuclear weapons based on exiting commitments and international obligations.’
The Movement’s determination to work towards these goals was further expressed in a four year plan of action adopted in 2013, which calls for engagement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement with parliamentarians and other representatives of civil society in order to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.
As such, Abolition 2000 member groups have been working closely with both the ICRC and the IFRC to inform, educate and engage parliamentarians and civil society in the humanitarian imperative for nuclear abolition. This has included a joint letter sent by Basel Peace Office and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament to every Red Cross and Red Crescent society in the world following the adoption of the 2013 resolution. (See: International Red Cross Movement calls for nuclear abolition: PNND and the Basel Peace Office send support).