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Ban Nuclear Weapons

70th anniversary of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

Image credit ICAN

In the year 2000 governments made an "unequivocal undertaking" to meet their obligations and eliminate all nuclear weapons under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).Yet instead of progress there is crisis. The five recognized nuclear powers who pledged "the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals" under the NPT, are now finding new military and political roles for nuclear arms instead.

Meanwhile, across the globe, support from non-nuclear countries for the abolition of nuclear weapons is growing. A Humanitarian Pledge to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” has been endorsed by 113 nations and the list is growing. The pledge aims to build pressure on the nuclear powers to disarm.

Australian support – missing

Despite growing momentum worldwide, Australia has not signed the Humanitarian Pledge and neither major political party has indicated they intend to. Australia has resisted calls by civil society to join the ban largely because it believes that US nuclear weapons enhance Australia’s security.
The current push for a ban on nuclear weapons relies on countries building pressure on the major nuclear powers to disarm. If all countries took Australia’s position the strategy would fail. Australia needs to play it’s part in securing the future safety and stability of the world by supporting a ban. Instead, both political parties have demonstrated their lack of support:
  • The Foreign Minister Julie Bishop: “banning weapons won't get rid of them and any global treaty would be impractical without the support of the world's nuclear armed states.

  •  During Labors two terms in government, from 2007 to 2013, it not only failed to promote the abolition of nuclear weapons in any meaningful sense, it actively undermined that goal. 

Invite your MP to support the ban

Parliamentarians have a vital role to play in advancing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. The Parliamentary Appeal from Act for Peace campaign partners, ICAN Australia aims to build global support for a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
More than 100 Australian parliamentarians and 800 recipients of the Order of Australia have signed ICAN appeal to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons
It will be presented at various intergovernmental meetings aimed at promoting nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

Take action today! 

  1. Check if your MP has signed the Appeal 

  2. If they have not signed the Appeal, contact them and invite them to sign



Why now is the time for action:

2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki.
The two atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people, and their effects are still being felt today.

The uranium bomb detonated over Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 had an explosive yield equal to 15,000 tonnes of TNT. It razed and burnt around 70 per cent of all buildings and caused an estimated 140,000 deaths by the end of 1945, along with increased rates of cancer and chronic disease among the survivors. A slightly larger plutonium bomb exploded over Nagasaki three days later levelled 6.7 km2 of the city and killed 74,000 people by the end of 1945. Ground temperatures reached 4,000°C and radioactive rain poured down.

Medical response

In Hiroshima 90 per cent of physicians and nurses were killed or injured; 42 of 45 hospitals were rendered non-functional; and 70 per cent of victims had combined injuries including, in most cases, severe burns. All the dedicated burn beds around the world would be insufficient to care for the survivors of a single nuclear bomb on any city. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki most victims died without any care to ease their suffering. Some of those who entered the cities after the bombings to provide assistance also died from the radiation.

Long-term effects

The incidence of leukaemia among survivors increased noticeably five to six years after the bombings, and about a decade later survivors began suffering from thyroid, breast, lung and other cancers at higher than normal rates. For solid cancers, the added risks related to radiation exposure continue to increase throughout the lifespan of survivors even to this day, almost seven decades after the bombings. Women exposed to the bombings while they were pregnant experienced higher rates of miscarriage and deaths among their infants. Children exposed to radiation in their mother’s womb were more likely to have intellectual disabilities and impaired growth, as well as increased risk of developing cancer.

Text from: http://www.icanw.org/projects/appeal/