Nukewatch Quarterly Summer 2014
NAYARIT, Mexico — The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has again demanded that governments must never again use nuclear weapons and called for the elimination of the world’s nuclear arsenals. The medics’ declaration came at a meeting of civil society groups in Nayarit, Mexico Feb. 13, 2014.
The Movement issued its demand in view of growing world-wide awareness of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear explosions.
The Red Cross/Red Crescent declaration reiterates a similar call made at an Oslo conference last year. Participants at both meetings emphasized that casualties and devastation in the aftermath of a nuclear attack would be so far-reaching that it would be impossible to provide adequate medical assistance.
The weapons’ health and environmental consequences result from the heat, blast and radiation unleashed by an explosion and the long distances over which these effects spread. Detonation of a nuclear warhead can destroy medical infrastructure and services, making the provision of aid and assistance all but impossible, as was the case in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The United States officially denies this view and claims, as it did before the UN’s International Court of Justice in 1996: “Nuclear weapons can be directed at a military target and can be used in a discriminate manner.”
In 2011, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement made an historic appeal when it first urged nuclear-armed states to never again use such weapons, regardless of their views on their legality, and to immediately negotiate the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons through a legally binding international treaty.