Published on February 14th, 2014 | by Krista van Velzen


Mexico: 146 states confronted with horrendous evidence of impact nukes

Today the second conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in Mexico started with a good burst of energy, as Austria had just made the announcement to host a follow up later this year. Great to know the Mexico conference will not be the last one and that the issue of the impact of nukes will continue to be discussed.

Last night a long time American peace activist said to me, while laughing out loud: ‘We can’t keep on having meetings like this.’ She then explained that two conferences in which experts present their evidence on the humanitarian impact of the use of nuclear weapons should be enough to convince any sane person that it is time to act. The agenda of the third conference should give the opportunity to make a step forward and discuss solutions. It’s no secret we already have the best solution to stop future catastrophic humanitarian harm, the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

Today 146 delegations were confronted with a long list of speakers that all presented evidence on the impact of these weapons of mass destruction.

Some evidence was based on what is known from the impact of the use of nukes and nuclear testing in the past. There were testimonies by several Hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The Japanese Red Cross presented data on the effects of these bombs on people’s health after decades and over longer distances. Data on the impact of the Russian nuclear testing in Semipalatinsk on health was presented.

Research was presented on the effect of small scale nuclear wars on the climate and food production. The Mexican government presented research into the effects of a small scale nuclear blast in Mexico city. Article 36 presented their research on a similar blast in Manchester. Delegations raised questions, proposed to talk about solutions, a roadmap towards a better future.

I feel overwhelmed. The evidence keeps piling up, speaker after speaker. It’s so clear something needs to be done about this madness. How much more of these nightmare stories need to be shared before all states are convinced we need a ban on these weapons now?

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About the Author

Krista van Velzen is a former Dutch MP and is currently working as nuclear disarmament campaigner with PAX in The Netherlands. She is running a citizens initiative in the Netherlands in order to get national legislation banning nuclear weapons. Van Velzen has been working on disarmament issues since the early nineties. As spokesperson on defence and foreign affairs she has convinced the Dutch government to ban and eliminate clustermunitions and and to prohibite investments as well. She has worked in Central and Eastern Europe creating a network of campaigners on the nuclear issue. She organised a Walk for Nuclear Disarmament from Brussels to Moscow. Her attempts to disarm a British Trident submarine gave her truly interesting experiences inside a Scottish jail. Disagreeing with president Obama, she believes a world without nuclear weapons is achievable in this lifetime.

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