Friday June 1, 2012
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement's historic resolution calling for a ban on the use of nuclear weapons has the official backing of all Australian political parties, with the new Foreign Affairs Minister adding his name to the list.
Australian Red Cross, with its counterparts in Japan and Norway, spearheaded a campaign which led to the tabling of the resolution at the Movement's governing body meeting in Geneva last November. The resolution, which had the backing of Red Cross in countries such as Iran, Germany and Fiji, commits the organisation to working towards a legally-binding international agreement to ensure nuclear weapons are never used again, and are ultimately eliminated.
'We are delighted that politicians from all sides of the spectrum - including Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Opposition Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop - have shown support for the overall aims of our work in this area,' said Australian Red Cross' CEO Robert Tickner, on the eve of this year's Nuclear Abolition Day (June 2). 'It would be fantastic if Australia could become a global champion of this important Red Cross initiative.'
Nuclear Abolition Day is an annual global day of action in support of a treaty to outlaw and eliminate all nuclear weapons.
'The Red Cross Movement's willingness to take up this issue is a challenge to the legitimacy of nuclear weapons as a weapon of war, and it's also an important stand on a critical issue of international humanitarian law,' said Mr Tickner. 'The use of any nuclear weapon would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences threatening people all over the world, destabilising food production and devastating the environment.'
Australian Red Cross' is also running an ongoing social media campaign - via Facebook and at http://targetnuclearweapons.org.au/ - focusing on the humanitarian dangers posed by nuclear weapons.
'Right now there are at least 20,000 nuclear weapons in existence worldwide, around 3,000 of them on launch-ready alert, yet there is currently no specific law or treaty banning their use,' Mr Tickner said. 'The proliferation of nuclear weapons in more and more countries, and the threat of more groups gaining the ability to use to these weapons, should be a wake up call to the world.'
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