ICRC president speaks on nuclear disarmament

International Committee of the Red Cross President, Peter Maurer | Courtesy of ICRC

International Committee of the Red Cross (IRCR) President Peter Maurer spoke in Geneva on Wednesday, reinforcing the IRCR's view that the use of nuclear weapons is unacceptable to the international diplomatic community.

Maurer said this year marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. It was after that event that the IRCR declared that the humanitarian cost of the use of nuclear weapons far outmatched any benefit, and from a humanitarian standpoint the organization has surmised these weapons should be abolished.

"Nuclear weapons are often presented as promoting security, particularly during times of international instability," Maurer said. "But weapons that risk catastrophic and irreversible humanitarian consequences cannot seriously be viewed as protecting civilians or humanity as a whole."

Maurer said despite progress that has been made with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), it is not enough considering the implications of nuclear detonation. The NPT's framework will be revisited during a review conference in May, and according to Maurer the evidence to support an end to the continued stockpiling and potential use of nuclear weapons exists. He cites testimony from nuclear force officers and other experts who indicate that accidental detonation is a possibility for any nation that holds these weapons.

Maurer calls on IRCR's member states to work toward the elimination of nuclear warhead stockpiles, saying the only way to neutralize the threat that nuclear weapons pose is their elimination from military plans of the international community.