Red Cross and Red Crescent

Council of Delegates of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, 26 November 2011 Resolution (The preamble is edited).

  • deeply concerned about the destructive power of nuclear weapons, the unspeakable human suffering they cause, the difficulty f controlling their effects in space and time, the threat they pose to the environment and to future generations and the risks of escalation they create,
  • concerned also by the continued retention of tens of thousands of nuclear warheads, the proliferation of such weapons and the constant risk that they could again be used,
  • disturbed by the serious implications of any use of nuclear weapons for humanitarian assistance activities and food production over wide areas of the world,
  • recalling the 1996 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, which confirmed that the principles and rules of international humanitarian law apply to nuclear weapons and concluded that the threat or use of such weapons would generally be contrary to the principles and rules of international humanitarian law,
  • drawing upon the testimony of atomic bomb survivors, the experience of the Japanese Red Cross Society and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in assisting the victims of the atomic bomb blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the knowledge gained through the ongoing treatment of survivors by the Japanese Red Cross Atomic Bomb Survivors Hospitals,

1. emphasizes the incalculable human suffering that can be expected to result from any use of nuclear weapons, the lack of any adequate humanitarian response capacity and the absolute imperative to prevent such use;

2. finds it difficult to envisage how any use of nuclear weapons could be compatible with the rules of international humanitarian law, in particular the rules of distinction, precaution and proportionality;

3. appeals to all States:

- to ensure that nuclear weapons are never again used, regardless of their views on the legality of such weapons,

- to pursue in good faith and conclude with urgency and determination negotiations to prohibit the use of and completely eliminate nuclear weapons through a legally binding international agreement, based on existing commitments and international obligations,

D Red Cross4. calls on all components of the Movement, utilizing the framework of humanitarian diplomacy:

- to engage, to the extent possible, in activities to raise awareness among the public, scientists, health professionals and decision-makers of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, the international humanitarian law issues that arise from such use and the need for concrete actions leading to the prohibition of use and elimination of such weapons,

- to engage, to the extent possible, in continuous dialogue with governments and other relevant actors on the humanitarian and international humanitarian law issues associated with nuclear weapons and to disseminate the Movement position outlined in this resolution.

In October 2013 the Red Cross and the Red Crescent produced a Four-year action plan “Working towards the elimination of nuclear weapons” this committed all national branches to engage in activities to:

raise awareness among the public, scientists, health professionals and decision-makers of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, the international humanitarian law issues that arise from such use and the need for concrete actions leading to the prohibition of use and elimination of such [nuclear] weapons.

 

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