Int'l Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement celebrate entry into force of nuclear weapons ban treaty

23 January 2021

UNB, Dhaka :
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement on Friday welcomed the entry into force of the first instrument of international humanitarian law to include provisions to help address the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of using and testing nuclear weapons.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons explicitly and unequivocally prohibits the use, threat of use, development, production, testing and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, and it obliges all states parties to not assist, encourage or induce anyone in any way to engage in any activity prohibited by the treaty.
" It is a victory for humanity. This treaty - the result of more than 75 years of work - sends a clear signal that nuclear weapons are unacceptable from a moral, humanitarian, and now a legal point of view," said Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
"It sets in motion even higher legal barriers and even greater stigmatisation of nuclear warheads than already exists. It allows us to imagine a world free from these inhumane weapons as an achievable goal."
Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders celebrated the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and saluted all 51 states whose backing of the treaty makes clear their refusal to accept nuclear weapons as an inevitable part of the international security architecture, said the ICRC.
It invited other world leaders, including those of nuclear-armed states, to follow suit and join the path towards a world free of nuclear weapons, in line with long-standing international obligations, notably those under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said: "The entry into force of this instrument of international humanitarian law comes as a welcome and powerful reminder that despite current global tensions, we can overcome even our biggest and most entrenched challenges, in the true spirit of multilateralism."
"This capacity to effectively unite and coordinate our action should be called upon as we grapple with other global, deadly challenges."
The treaty obliges states to provide assistance, including medical care, rehabilitation and psychological support, to victims under their jurisdiction without discrimination, and ensure their socio-economic inclusion. It also requires states to clear areas contaminated by nuclear use or testing.
"The treaty is a ground-breaking step to address the legacy of destruction caused by these weapons," Maurer said.
"The compelling evidence of the suffering and devastation caused by nuclear weapons, and the threat their use may pose to humanity's survival, make attempts to justify their use or mere existence increasingly indefensible. It is extremely doubtful that these weapons could ever be used in line with international humanitarian law."
The treaty enters into force as the world is witnessing what happens when a public health system is overwhelmed by patients.

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