Protect all humanity by ratifying the nuclear weapon ban treaty

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“[C]ity wiped out; eighty percent all hospitals destroyed or seriously damaged; inspected two emergency hospitals, conditions beyond description, full stop; effects of bomb mysteriously serious, stop.”

"Aftermath of the Port of Beirut explosions on 4 August 2020." by Anchal Vohra is in the Public Domain, CC0
“Aftermath of the Port of Beirut explosions on 4 August 2020.” by Anchal Vohra is in the Public Domain, CC0

The Philippine Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross quoted the telegrammed report by Fritz Bilfinger, a delegate of the ICRC who arrived in Hiroshima to assess the damage weeks after the place was hit by a nuclear bomb, as they called to ratify the nuclear weapon ban treaty.

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PRC Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon, and ICRC Philippines Head of Delegation Boris Michel issued a joint statement furnished to DNX during the commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing as they called for the ratification of the nuclear weapon ban treaty.

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They also agreed that the Philippines “can play a leading role in achieving this goal” as the Philippines, as a state, has signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in 2017, and became “one of the flagbearers for important convention”.

In now joining a growing number of states in ratifying the TPNW, the Philippines can increase the chances of the treaty coming into force, thereby honoring the memory of the hundreds of thousands of victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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REMEMBERING HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI

“On this day 75 years ago, an entirely new type of weapon exploded above the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Within a fraction of a second, a massive dome of fire filled the sky. The intense heat of the explosion eclipsed the center of the coastal city, immediately vaporizing all living things. A millisecond later, a violent supersonic blast wave expanded outwards from the fireball in all directions, levelling most of the city and its 340,000 inhabitants to the ground,” the PRC, and ICRC Philippines said.

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The explosion, according to the statement, “instantly killed tens of thousands of people and inflicted unspeakable suffering upon many others”.

“Three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, on 9 August 1945, the new weapon would again unleash its terrifying power, this time to kill and injure 60 per cent of the population of Nagasaki, another Japanese city,” the statement added.

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The PRC and the ICRC Philippines noted that despite the best efforts of the ICRC and the Japanese Red Cross Society to assist the victims, tens of thousands more died from the bombs’ long-lasting effects, which could be felt up to this day.

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“Throughout history, the international community has taken decisive action to prohibit and eliminate weapons that have unacceptable humanitarian consequences,” the statement said, adding, this has led the ICRC, the Red Cross, and Red Crescent Movement to advocate the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons under international law.

The Senate of the Philippines, Gordon, adopted a Senate Resolution in 2017 “expressing full support to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s call to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons”.

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That same year, 122 States including the Philippines responded by adopting the TPNW.

“The TPNW includes a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapons activities, including developing, testing, producing, using or threatening to use them. Three years later, this treaty needs an additional 10 ratifications to enter into force,” the joint statement added.

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They point out that 75 years after the bombing, there are still nearly 14,000 nuclear weapons in the world, thousands of which are at “hair-trigger” alert, ready to be launched at a moment’s notice.

“The use of even a fraction of these weapons would cause long-term and irreversible effects on human health, the environment, the climate and food-production — that is, everything that life depends on — threatening future generations and the very survival of humanity,” the statement said, adding, “Any use of nuclear weapons would generate colossal humanitarian needs that no government or international organization has the capacity to respond to. Who, then, will assist the victims of a nuclear explosion, and how? What we cannot prepare for, we must prevent.”

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