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December 9, 2014

Greetings from Vienna!

Greetings from Vienna!
In a demonstration of overwhelming support from the international community, representatives from more than 150 states are gathering in Vienna, Austria for the third international conference to examine the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.

Prior to the government talks, more than 500 activists assembled in the biggest gathering of civil society on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, hosted by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, of which IPPNW is the founding and lead medical partner. The two-day  ICAN Civil Society Forum featured presentations from a diverse array of international figures, from experts to parliamentarians to relief agency representatives. IPPNW co-president Ira Helfand joined a panel of experts on the medical, environmental, humanitarian, economic, and social impacts of nuclear weapons, and IPPNW Program Director John Loretz shared IPPNW's new Campaign Kit on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons with fellow campaigners.

Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu set the tone for the weekend during a video message to open the second day of the ICAN Civil Society Forum:
 “The writing should be on the wall for the nuclear powers,” said Archbishop Tutu. “A treaty banning nuclear weapons is on the way. The momentum is unstoppable.”

IPPNW and ICAN campaigners hope to carry this momentum forward in the coming days, as more than 150 states gather to discuss and press forward the humanitarian initiative on abolishing nuclear weapons. In addition to the 100+ states that have participated in previous conferences in Oslo, Norway and and Nayarit, Mexico, nuclear-armed states such as the United Kingdom and the United States that have previously boycotted talks in this process will participate in Vienna along side India and Pakistan.

You can follow further updates from IPPNW campaigners on the ground in Vienna through IPPNW's Peace & Health Blog, by searching for the hashtag #HINW14vienna on social media, by following the Twitter stream of @PSRSecurity,or by streaming online during conference hours at goodbyenuk.es/follow/. 

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