The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement welcomes the entry into force today of the first instrument of international humanitarian law to include provisions to help address the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of using and testing nuclear weapons.
Trevor Holmes, Secretary-General for the Irish Red Cross, said:
"The use of nuclear weapons would be catastrophic for humanity and the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the challenges for healthcare systems in dealing with large-scale public health emergencies. A nuclear bomb is something no country or healthcare system can adequately respond to. Today, when the Treaty of the Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons comes into force, we are a step closer to ensuring that one sinister catastrophe never happens.
"This Treaty is a reminder to the global community, including Ireland, that we must eliminate any challenges in our paths to secure a safer future, free of nuclear weapons."
The Treaty enters into force as the world witnesses what happens when a public health system is overwhelmed by patients. The needs created by a nuclear detonation would render any meaningful health response impossible. No health system, no government, and no aid organization is capable of adequately responding to the health and other assistance needs that a nuclear blast would bring.
The adoption by nuclear-armed states of more aggressive nuclear weapons policies and the continued modernization of nuclear weapons all worryingly point towards an increasing risk of use of nuclear weapons. That’s why it is imperative that we act now to prevent a nuclear detonation from happening in the first place, by removing any use and testing of nuclear weapons from the realm of possibility.
States Parties, which will have their first meeting in the course of 2021, must now ensure that the Treaty's provisions are faithfully implemented and promote its adherence.
“The Treaty presents each of us with a really simple question: Do we want nuclear weapons to be banned or not? We are ready, together with our Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies, to intensify our efforts to achieve the broadest possible adherence to the Treaty and insist on its vision of collective security. The entry into force of the Nuclear Ban Treaty is the beginning, not the end, of our efforts,” Francesco Rocca said.