News Archive
Mar 26, 2013 - Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons - Peace Boat participates in Oslo Meeting, Bringing Commitment for Abolition
ICAN Civil Society Forum
Peace Boat took part in two global nuclear disarmament conferences in Oslo, Norway: Civil Society Forum, organized by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), March 2-3, 2013 and "The Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons," hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, March 4-5, 2013.

Peace Boat has been continuously involved in international campaigns for the abolition of nuclear weapons and is proud to take active part in these two historic international conferences which – for the first time in the history – addressed, as the main theme, consequences of the use of nuclear weapons on human beings, environment and climate.

Close to 500 participants from 70 countries and all continents of the world took part in the ICAN conference.
Civil Society Forum, March 2-3, Oslo

Close to 500 participants from 70 countries and all continents of the world took part in the ICAN conference.

Speakers from all sectors, including NGOs, government representatives, scientists, youth, activists, religious leaders, actors and many others, exposed the devastating humanitarian and environmental consequences of nuclear weapons.

Through speeches, workshops, discussions, and side events, scientists explained how even a small exchange of nuclear bombs would cause millions of victims, throw smoke in the atmosphere and block the sun for a decade, trigger a nuclear winter, generate nuclear famine and decimate millions.

Hibakusha Tanaka Terumi, Secretary-General of Hidankyo, giving testimony.
Nuclear victims from Japan and Kazakhstan gave personal testimonies and appealed for the world free of nuclear weapons.

Peace Boat Executive Member Kawasaki Akira, who is also ICAN Co-CHair, was actively involved in the organization of the Civil Social Forum and its strategies in the new context of the international discussion on humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons on both governmental and civil society level.

The Peace Boat team was also intensively involved in organizing the coming of Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki), including interpreting for their public testimonies, interviews with media and meetings.

Dr Tomonaga Masao, Director of the Nagasaki Red Cross Atomic Bomb Hospital, tells of the long-term medical effects on survivors
International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, March 4-5, 2013, Oslo

The impressively inclusive gathering of 127 countries (including two of the 9 nuclear weapon states, India and Pakistan), several UN humanitarian agencies (including OCHA, UNDP and UNHCR), the International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) and 50 representatives from civil society coordinated by ICAN brought new energy and hope to the international political scene that the nuclear weapons could be abolished.

During the two-day gathering, diplomats, governmental officials, CSOs, UN agencies, the ICRC, scientists and Hibakusha shared expert reports on the medical, biological, environmental, economic and long term consequences of use of nuclear weapons. Nobody could deny the scientific facts of the horrible scenario which would arise if even a small scale nuclear war were to take place.

All humanitarian agencies present at the conference admitted and confirmed, for the first time, that they would not be able to deal with humanitarian consequences if nuclear weapons would be used and that it would never be possible, for any national or international humanitarian organization, to be prepared for the catastrophe of such scale.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide closes the conference
The Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide summed up with some personal comments: "I believe that we have succeeded in reframing the issue by introducing the humanitarian impacts and humanitarian concerns at the very centre, at the core of the discourse on nuclear weapons.  Taking that approach it has become very clear that this is everybody's concern and it is equally legitimate for nuclear states and non-nuclear states alike to care about this issue.  In doing so, we believe that we are taking the debate about nuclear weapons out of the somewhat traditionalised and institutionalised arenas that are already existing.  We are not intending to substitute them.  This is a supplement but we do believe that there is a new sense of urgency that should govern our work in this area."

Kawasaki Akira presenting his intervention on behalf of ICAN
Kawasaki Akira, member of Peace Boat Executive Committee, presented ICAN statement to the Conference reminding on horrific consequences of nuclear weapons and appealing for their abolition. Read the full text online here.

Based on the common view of 127 governments that understanding of the global humanitarian consequences of nuclear detonations should be the starting point for urgent action to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons, Mexico announced it would host a follow-up meeting to this conference.

More information about the conference, including videos and statements, can be found here.
Visit the ICAN Civil Society Forum website here.

Documents for download