International Committee of Red Cross urges nations to act on proposal to ban nuclear weapons

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today urged nations to act on the recommendation of the UN open-ended working group to convene negotiations in 2017 on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

Addressing the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the ICRC’s vice-president, Christine Beerli, said that the international community has a “unique opportunity” to achieve a ban on the “most destructive weapon ever invented”.

“The international community now has before it overwhelming evidence of the horrific, long-term and irreversible effects of these weapons on health, the environment, climate and food production,” she said.

“Having recognized these consequences, states now have a responsibility to take decisive action. And they have an unprecedented opportunity to do so, by acting on the recommendation adopted by the UN open-ended working group.”

A prohibition on nuclear weapons is “an indispensable building block in reaching the universal goal of a world free of nuclear weapons”, she said. “As with chemical and biological weapons, unambiguous prohibition is both the foundation for disarmament and a disincentive for proliferation.”

Read full statement here.