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11 June 2017, Büchel, Germany

International Symposium "Banning Nuclear Weapons: A European Perspective"

There are nearly 15.000 nuclear weapons in the world and enough fissile material to make thousands more. A single nuclear weapon detonated over a populated area could kill hundreds of thousands or millions of people. The use of a large number of nuclear weapons would disrupt the global climate, causing widespread agricultural collapse and famine. The burning cities ignited by nuclear explosions would loft smoke high into the upper atmosphere, blanketing the globe. This, in turn, would cool, darken and dry the Earth’s surface, decimating food crops – putting potentially billions of people at risk of starvation. The catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons render their use incompatible with international law applicable to war – including international humanitarian law and the laws of peace and security.

Despite the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons, the issue receives minimal public attention and political momentum. From March 27 – April 1, 2007 negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons within the framework of international law took place in New York. This first negotiation session revealed that the 132 participating countries share a vision for a world without nuclear weapons. The International IPPNW symposium is looking at the process towards a Nuclear Ban Treaty in five European Countries.

Fringe events

Saturday, 10 June: Kick off protestation camp

Sunday, 11 June, from 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm: General campaign training

Sunday, 11 June, 10.30 am: International symposium, afterwards peace festival at the main gate of the air base

Monday, 12 June: Civil disobedience initiative

During the week from 13 – 16 June: Vigils from 6.00 am to 7.30 am and  3.30 pm to 5.00 pm – further activities depend on your participation

Saturday, 17 June: IPPNW week closing accompanied by a regional peace group and the peace forum Freiburg

Program for Sunday, 11 June:

10.30 am: Opening
Inga Blum and Angelika Claussen, Germany

10.45 am: A world without Nuclear Weapons – Why do we need a ban?
Hector Guerra, Mexico

11.00 am: How the Dutch grass-roots Movement pressured the government into negotiating a nuclear ban
Peter Buijs, The Netherlands

11.15 am: Why Norway is boycotting UN negotiations
Dr. Bjørn Hilt, Norway

11.30 am: Why the Austrian government strongly supports a nuclear ban
Nadja Schmidt, Austria

11.45 am: NATO and Russia are lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons - We have to act now!
Gunnar Westberg, Sweden

12.00 pm: Open Discussion (including local politicians, Mayors for Peace)

1.00 pm: Lunch, Music and Culture


Inga Blum is the former coordinator of the IPPNW Nuclear Weapons Inheritance Project and is a member of the current Board of IPPNW Germany. She is a medical doctor working in the field of psychiatry and neurology.

Angelika Claussen
is a resident doctor working in the field of psychiatry and psychotherapy. She was a chairwoman for IPPNW’s German branch from 2005 to 2011. At the moment Dr. Claussen is vice president of IPPNW Europe.

Hector Guerra works for SEHLAC, Seguridad Humana en Latinoamérica y el Caribe (Network for Human Security in Latin America and the Caribbean) and is ICAN’s coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean. He has represented Mexico in the Cluster Munition Coalition; the International Campaign to Ban Landmines; the International Network on Explosive Weapons, and the Control Arms Alliance. Also, he has participated in different international diplomatic processes, such as those related to the Mine Ban Treaty; the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Arms Trade Treaty.

Peter Buijs is co-chair and International Councillor of NVMP, the Dutch affiliate of IPPNW. He worked for 34 years at TNO Work & Health as a researcher/consultant looking into how to get the best healthcare for workers globally, especially in primary care.

Bjørn Hilt
is a member of the Norwegian affiliate of IPPNW since it was founded in 1982. Since September 2006 he is chairman of IPPNW‘s international Board of Directors. Dr. Hilt works as a senior consultant and a professor of occupational medicine at the St. Olav University Hospital in Trondheim, Norway.

Nadja Schmidt
is a member of ICAN Austria and coordinated the ICAN Civil Society Forum in Vienna in December 2014.

Gunnar Westberg is a member of SLMK since 1982, the Swedish affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. From 1996-2004 he was President of SLMK, from 2004-2008 Co-President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. He organised the Istanbul Conference on Nuclear Dangers in the Middle East 2005 with participation from Iran. Westberg visited Tehran in 2007 and 2012 with a delegation from IPPNW.


Getting there:
The closest airports are Köln or Bonn, from where you will need about 2 hours by train to Cochem (Mosel). It takes about 3 hours from Frankfurt (Main) by train to Cochem.