The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons issued the following press release on Friday 20 April, after the Norwegian Foreign Minister told the Norwegian Parliament that he would host an international conference on the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons.

For Immediate Release April 20, 2012

International conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons due to take place in 2013

GENEVA – The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) warmly welcomes the announcement by the Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre that Norway will host a meeting in Oslo in 2013 on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.

Referring to the increasing momentum towards a ban on nuclear weapons, including the resolution “Working towards the elimination of nuclear weapons” adopted at the Red Cross/Red Crescent’s Council of Delegates meeting last November, the Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced on Tuesday to the Norwegian parliament that “a conference in Oslo to highlight different aspects of nuclear weapons as a humanitarian
problem” is scheduled to take place next spring.

The Chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Dr. Tilman Ruff welcomes the announcement, saying that it “demonstrates that governments are still prepared to rise to the challenge posed by nuclear weapons for our societies, our environment and our security. All governments, whether or not they own nuclear weapons, share a responsibility to remove this common danger”.

“This is a critical moment for nuclear prohibition” says Dr. Ruff. “The humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons has too often been put at the margins of nuclear disarmament privileging a security-centered debate. It is high time that states start to consider the real catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”.

Noting that this is a good opportunity for policy makers from different countries to come together, ICAN Norway campaign coordinator Magnus Løvold says that “this should not be just another diplomatic meeting, but should lead to a clear roadmap for a new humanitarian and legal standard. ICAN calls on Norway and the other participating governments to use the meeting as a stepping stone towards negotiations for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons”.

Dr. Ruff concludes: “The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – a coalition representing more than 200 member NGOs present in 60 countries worldwide – fully endorses this initiative and is committed to mobilizing public support around the world to encourage such a process.”

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