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Paris, January 25, 2018

The French Red Cross and the NWBT

ICRC legal advisor Kathleen Lawand, Foto: Jean-Marc Ferré

For the first time in France, on Thursday, January 25, the French Red Cross (CRF) organized a panel discussion at its headquarters in Paris on the issue of the Nuclear Weapons ban treaty (NWBT).

Taking part in the debate were: KATHLEEN LAWAND, legal advisor and Head of the Arms Unit at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), JEAN MARIE COLIN, Vice President of the IDN (Initiatives for Nuclear Disarmament), PATRICE RICHARD and ABRAHAM BEHAR, AMFPGN (IPPNW FRENCH AFFILIATE).
The representative of the ICRC recalled the constant struggle of her organization for the abolition of nuclear weapons since 1945. Above all, she explained her reasons for supporting NWBT, stressing the current disproportionate nature of the nuclear threat and the humanitarian consequences.

J M COLIN, recalled the history of the treaty from its origins and in this context, the role of ICAN, the international campaign initiated by the IPPNW.
P. RICHARD, in reaction to the comments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs lamented the relentlessness of our government against the NWBT and the obsolete attachment to nuclear deterrence, out of the realities in Europe.
A.BEHAR chose a concrete example of the prevention of the health effects of atomic radiation through the SPECIFIC PLAN in case of NUCLEAT ACCIDENT, In the event of a nuclear accident on our soil (both military and civilian). He especially emphasized the place of health workers (doctors, nurses and first-aid workers).

To balance these interventions in favor of the NWBT, Mr. ZACHARIE GROSS, director of the department dedicated to nuclear disarmament at the Foreign affairs ministry (accompanied by 2 other representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a representative of the Ministry of Defense and a representative of the Ministry of Health) intervened at length to explain the reasons for the hostility of the French government towards NWBT. To do this, he praised the important steps our country had taken towards atomic disarmament, during the time of the presidency of the late F. MITTERAND. Lastly, he paid a heartfelt tribute to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) without dwelling on the repeated failures of its revision at the UN.

This meeting is the prelude of a campaign in favor of NWBT by the French RED CROSS in all regions of France. The AMFPGN will fully support this initiative.

We have proposed a day of action in Paris dedicated to this topic that will involve all health organizations in order to explain how NWBT is a vital step towards the abolition of nuclear weapons, and to lay out the humanitarian and public health consequences of an atomic attack or accident.

Our mission, in line with the decisions of the IPPNW YORK 2017 Congress, is supported by this very concrete start to the fight for the signature and ratification of NWBT, including that of nuclear states like ours, or by dependent states.

A. Behar and P. Richard on behalf of AMFPGN

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