Four leading health federations warn: nuclear weapons must be prohibited

May 2, 2016

The four leading international federations representing the world’s physicians, public health professionals, and nurses have come together for the first time to warn governments that urgent action is needed to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. A new treaty banning nuclear weapons would be “the only course of action commensurate with the existential danger they pose.”

The World Medical Association (WMA), the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA), the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), have today jointly submitted a contribution on “The health and humanitarian case for banning nuclear weapons” to a UN working group on new legal measures for nuclear disarmament.

“This is the first time the leading international federations of health professionals have addressed the dangers of nuclear weapons with a common voice,” says Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

The working paper emphasized that a nuclear war with weapons in existing arsenals could kill many more people in a few hours than were killed during the entire Second World War and the radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons would linger in the environment, causing cancers and other illnesses over generations.

The thousands of weapons in the world’s largest arsenals could trigger a global ecological collapse.

The paper was submitted to a UN working group, where governments could decide to launch negotiations on a new historical treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.
As governments meet in Geneva on 2-13 May, it’s time for them to listen to health professionals from all around the world and seize an historic opportunity to prohibit nuclear weapons.



  • aiweiwei

    “Let’s act up! Ban nuclear weapons completely and unconditionally.”

    Ai Weiwei Artist and activist

  • sheen

    “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, they would be part of ICAN.”

    Martin Sheen Actor and activist

  • bankimoon

    “I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”

    Ban Ki-moon Former UN chief

  • yokoono

    “We can do it together. With your help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”

    Yoko Ono Artist

  • jodywilliams

    “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

    Jody Williams Nobel laureate

  • desmondtutu

    “With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”

    Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate

  • herbiehancock

    “Because I cannot tolerate these appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”

    Herbie Hancock Jazz musician

  • dalailama

    “I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”

    Dalai Lama Nobel laureate