Unspeakable Suffering

February 28, 2013

Unspeakable Suffering – The Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, a study published by ICAN partner organization Reaching Critical Will (RCW) of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, provides an up-to-date and disturbing look at the evidence of the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons.

With analysis from multiple angles, the report concludes that, in the event of a nuclear explosion, first responders at the national and international level would be unable to intervene to provide critical assistance to victims. The study goes beyond the immediate consequences and provides an in-depth look at the long-term environmental, health, development and economic impacts of a nuclear detonation, making a significant contribution to the weight of the humanitarian imperative for a treaty banning these weapons.

“Few people deny that using nuclear weapons would have a catastrophic impact on populations and the environment, and even the nuclear-armed states seem to agree that the world would be better off without them. It is obvious that we cannot protect ourselves from a nuclear attack; the only way is to prevent such an attack from ever taking place,” says Beatrice Fihn, the editor of the study.

The study is released online but will also be distributed at the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons organized by the Royal Norwegian Government on 4-5 March 2013 in Oslo.  This event constitutes an important step forward for the recognition that the unspeakable suffering that these weapons cause must be addressed by governments in a forum where civil society and, most importantly, first responders can raise their concerns over the inherent harm that nuclear weapons entail.

“By focusing on the humanitarian impact and consequences of nuclear weapons, it becomes clear that these weapons are simply inhumane, unacceptable and appalling weapons of terror. Just like chemical and biological weapons, no state should be proud to possess them or aspire to acquire them. Maintaining nuclear weapons is not a symbol of power or strength, but instead a constant reminder of the immense suffering that they have caused and continuously threaten to cause again,” concludes Beatrice Fihn.

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