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Australian Red Cross and nuclear weapons

Australian Red Cross has played a pivotal role in the global efforts to raise awareness of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and to ensure they are never used again.

Following the first stage of the 'Make Nuclear Weapons the Target' advocacy campaign, Australian Red Cross took the community's views to an international Red Cross meeting in Geneva in November 2011. These views helped develop a resolution called 'Working towards the elimination of nuclear weapons'.

Nuclear debate - Robert Tickner address

This historic resolution of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement appeals to States to ensure nuclear weapons are never again used, and to create laws to prohibit their use and aim for their elimination.

In March 2013, Australian Red Cross' CEO, Robert Tickner, addressed the first ever government Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons on behalf of the International Federation of the Red Cross. Government representatives from 127 countries attended the Oslo conference.

Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons 

In November 2013, the Council of Delegates, which consists of representatives of the ICRC, the 189 Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies and the IFRC, voted unanimously to adopt an action plan to work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

In February 2014, Red Cross attended the second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Mexico to ensure that this critical issue is kept on the international agenda. Addressing the conference, the Movement made a joint statement calling on states to act on their existing obligations and prohibit nuclear weapons because of their catastrophic humanitarian consequences. 


International Court of Justice and nuclear weapons
There is no comprehensive ban in international law on the use of nuclear weapons. However, in July 1996, the International Court of Justice concluded that their use would generally be contrary to international humanitarian law's principles and rules. Read more »

Who will assist the victims of nuclear weapons?
At an international level, there are no plans for assisting the victims of a nuclear attack which are both adequate and safe. Read more »

Nuclear weapons
Humanity at a crossroads: the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons. Download the complete brochure.

The Hiroshima disaster - a Red Cross doctor's account
An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) aid worker, Dr Marcel Junod, was the first non-Japanese doctor to see what had happened to Hiroshima. His reports remain a chilling account of the threat to humanity.


"I felt the hot sand on my back as I ran, and I was blown over before I reached the shelter."
Reiko Yamada, 79-year-old Hiroshima survivor. Read more »

A unique threat to humanity

IHL magazine

The IHL Magazine 'A unique threat to humanity' focuses on nuclear weapons. Download.

IHL Magazine update. Download


Working towards the elimination of nuclear weapons: Council of Delegates of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, 26 November 2011.

Working towards the elimination of nuclear Weapons: Four-year action plan, Council of Delegates of the IFRC, 17 November 2013