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ICAN Launched!

Campaign To Abolish Nuclear Weapons

ICAN is a new campaign initiated by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a federation of medical professionals in 60 countries. The organisation received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for uniting doctors across the Cold War divide to raise awareness of the threats posed by nuclear weapons. Its prescription for survival was, and remains, the complete elimination of nuclear weapons

ICAN focuses on the roots of the nuclear weapons problem - the continued possession of nuclear weapons by a small minority of countries, who risk their use by design, accident, miscalculation or by terrorists, and whose weapons are an incentive to others to also become nuclear armed.

ICAN aims to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention to ban the development, possession and use of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons are not like other weapons - there is no other weapon that can kill hundreds of millions of people in a few hours and bring about the end of human civilisation. According to the Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in January 2007, 50 of today’s nuclear weapons could kill 200 million people.

The 27,000 nuclear weapons in existence are illegal, immoral and genocidal; they can destroy our cities, health, water catchments and our food chain, and they routinely deplete funds and attention from achieving human security. Nuclear weapons have no legitimate purpose. To possess them and thereby threaten their use is utterly immoral. They are the ultimate weapons of terror.

Nuclear weapons are futile against any of today's real security threats. Nuclear weapons cannot address climate change, depletion of water & environmental degradation, poverty, hunger, overpopulation, pandemics such as AIDS or avian flu, failing states, non state armed groups or terrorists, organised crime, or trafficking in drugs, people and arms.

In fact, nuclear weapons budgets and policies make most of these problems much worse because they divert enormous financial and technical resources from where they are really needed. In addition, the development of nuclear weapons directly adds to environmental degradation, and mistrust rather than cooperation between nations.

ICAN's Demands:


The abolition of nuclear weapons is achievable through a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC). The majority of UN Member States call for immediate negotiation of such a treaty, which would prohibit the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat, or use of nuclear weapons. The NWC would provide for the elimination of nuclear weapons in much the same way comparable treaties have banned landmines and chemical and biological weapons.


The nuclear weapon states must immediately stop upgrading, modernizing, and testing new nuclear weapons. Producing new nuclear weapons undermines the goal of non-proliferation, and violates the legal obligations of the nuclear weapon states under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to negotiate disarmament in good faith. The five original nuclear weapon states made an “unequivocal undertaking” at the NPT Review Conference in 2000 to “accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament.” The hypocritical claim that nuclear weapons are valuable instruments of policy and power projection in some hands but are intolerable threats when owned by others must be abandoned.


Nuclear weapons must be taken off high alert. This would greatly decrease the chance of accidental use. Every nuclear weapon state should commit itself to a “No First Use” policy – a pledge never to initiate a nuclear exchange – as an interim step toward abolition and to reduce the stimulus to nuclear proliferation. Nuclear Weapon-Free Zones, which shrink the geographical space in which nuclear weapons can play a role, should be expanded globally.

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