The humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons will be centre stage today and tomorrow when representatives from more than 150 governments, the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and civil society come together in Vienna.
Monday December 8, 2014
Australian Red Cross representatives - including President Michael Legge and CEO Robert Tickner - will join the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement's delegation.
The Vienna gathering will be the third inter-governmental conference in the past two years focused on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. The first meeting took place in March 2013 in Oslo and brought together representatives from 127 governments, including Australia. Delegations from 146 governments attended the second conference held in Nayarit, Mexico. This year the United States of America will attend for the first time.
Mr Tickner said momentum was clearly building as more and more states and citizens put nuclear weapons high on the agenda of international humanitarian concerns.
"The Vienna conference marks a critical moment in history," he said. "It's an opportunity for the international community to raise awareness of the humanitarian consequences of these weapons to ensure that they are not passed on as an inheritance of horror to future generations."
Australian Red Cross is part of a renewed global effort to raise awareness of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons to ensure that they are never used again. This work has included engagement with decision makers, peak bodies, academics and the general public.
"Our Make Nuclear Weapons the Target campaign has reached more than one million people through social media," Mr Tickner said. "This community support has been critical in our global efforts towards establishing an international agreement to ban the use of nuclear weapons."
A national survey released by Red Cross last week revealed that more than 80 per cent of Australians support a legally binding treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons. The overwhelming majority - 84 per cent - of the 1,001 Australians interviewed in the nation-wide survey feel the world would be a safer place if there were no nuclear weapons.
More on Australian Red Cross' target nuclear weapons campaign