OCTOBER 24, 2020
History was made on October 24, 2020, when Honduras ratified the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Now with 50 ratifications, the Treaty will enter-into-force in 90 days, becoming legally binding for countries that have joined the treaty, most likely on January 22, 2021, two days after Inauguration Day.
And on that day marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the American Public Health Association (APHA) voted, at its annual meeting, to adopt a new policy calling for a “Nuclear-Free World.” The policy advocates for the U.S. government to ratify the UN Treaty and embrace the five planks of the Back from the Brink Campaign. This new policy was the culmination of a year-long collaborative effort involving members of the SF Bay Area and Washington State PSR chapters.
The UN Treaty was the direct result of a multi-year effort spearheaded by PSR’s partner the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for their work. The Treaty “prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory…[as well as] assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.”
The United States and the other eight Nuclear-Weapons States continue to oppose the Treaty, and the Trump Administration last week undertook a campaign to pressure countries that have already ratified to withdraw from UN nuclear-ban treaty.
The new APHA policy “Call for a nuclear weapons-free world, number 20209” recognizes the immense threat of nuclear weapons to human survival, and the central role of public health professionals in advancing their abolition. Concretely, 1. It urges the U.S. president and Senate, as well as nuclear weapons-states to sign and ratify the United Nations Treaty; 2. encourages federal policymakers to support current and future treaties that call for the end to nuclear weapons testing, research, development, manufacture or use; 3. calls on Congress to address past and current occupational and environmental health harms posed by the U.S. nuclear weapons complex by investing in research, worker protections, health care and environmental cleanup; 4. and urges public health professionals to educate on the need for rapid nuclear disarmament.
The APHA policy was developed by SF Bay PSR’s Dr. Tova Fuller, Dr. Robert Gould, and Patrice Sutton, together with Washington State PSR members Dr. Amy Hagopian and Cameron Dacey.
What are the next steps?
We invite you to join our Nuclear Weapons Abolition Committee
NEXT meeting will be on Thursday, November 12, 7:00 pm PT, via Zoom
NWA committee members are health professionals and others working locally to influence public awareness, civic engagement, and national policy via California Members of Congress toward a nuclear-weapons-free world. Toward the latter, we endorse the Back from the brink Campaign and its policy platforms.
To join the committee please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read more please visit the NWAC page.
“As we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, we honor the memories of the countless human beings who perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the immanent entry-into-force of the “Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons,” and the adoption by the American Public Health Association of the new policy “Towards a Nuclear-Free World,” as critical steps toward eliminating the dread threat these weapons pose to human existence.”
— Robert M. Gould, MD, President SF Bay PSR
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