Red Cross is part of a renewed global effort to raise awareness of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.
Monday December 1, 2014
Ahead of history making nuclear weapons talks in Vienna, an Australian Red Cross survey has 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.
A resounding 88 per cent said there would be no winners in a nuclear war given the devastating humanitarian consequences that would result.
"For Red Cross and the vast majority of Australians, the next step is clear," said Australian Red Cross' CEO Robert Tickner. "It's time for the international community to create a legally binding treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons on humanitarian grounds."
"The governmental conference in Vienna provides an important opportunity to ensure that the critical issue of the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons is kept firmly on the international agenda," he said.
As part of its ongoing work urging governments to work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons, International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement representatives will join governments and civil society organisations from around the world at the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons on 8 and 9 December.
Mr Tickner and Australian Red Cross' President Michael Legge will join the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent (IFRC) delegation, which represents Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies in 189 countries. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will also attend.
Since they were first used in Hiroshima in August 1945, the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has consistently voiced its deep humanitarian concerns about nuclear weapons.
The destructive force of nuclear weapons cannot be limited in either space or time; the radiation released can affect health, agriculture, natural resources, and people over a very wide area and constitutes a serious danger for future generations.
An estimated 17,000 warheads remain in existence. This is despite a significant decrease in the stockpiles of US and Russian nuclear warheads since the end of the Cold War.
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 growing community support has been critical in our global efforts towards establishing an international agreement to ban the use of nuclear weapons.
"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."
More on the Make Nuclear Weapons the Target campaign