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Thursday, 1. December 2022

Medical Appeal: No War in Europe!

Medical professionals call for diplomacy to avert a humanitarian disaster

Doctors and other health professionals in Europe take their responsibility for preventive action to save lives very seriously. The pandemic has shown how much effort they are prepared to put into this task. Yet another medical emergency is brewing in Europe that must be avoided.  If the correct action is taken now, we can avert war – and the humanitarian disaster that it will inevitably bring – by choosing diplomacy over further escalation.

Russia is a part of the European continent and culture. People across Europe had great hopes when the Cold War ended and the Warsaw Pact was dissolved. The promise of a united Europe seemed possible. But NATO was not dissolved and the relationship between Russia on the one side and NATO and the EU on the other has steadily worsened in the last twenty years, reaching an acute stage of antagonism in the last few years, which is extremely worrying.

A complete breakdown of trust in arms control and the withdrawal from treaties, as in the case of Ukraine, has exacerbated the situation.

The costly expansion of NATO and the forced shifting of Ukraine's borders have not improved the probability of achieving common security or peace. Maintaining military forces and keeping up in the arms race come at a heavy cost both for Europe and Russia. All of us now need those financial resources to mitigate the effects of climate change and today’s pandemic.

Confrontational policies are driving us to the edge of war with both sides blaming the other for the escalation. It is counterproductive for NATO and Russia to address this conflict by adding fuel to the fire and giving hardliners on both sides ammunition for more confrontation. Sending more arms and soldiers to the borders on both sides adds to the see-saw effect that escalates the danger of war and creates a perilous stand-off like in Berlin in 1958 or Cuba in 1962. Sixty years ago, we stood on the precipice of nuclear war and only individual heroic acts, courageous decision-making and luck saved us. Let’s not do that again.

We need to step back and look at this impasse through the eyes of the other. That doesn’t mean we have to accept the other's opinion or take on their perspective as our own. We should listen to their needs and try to understand them. Let us draw on the wisdom of our forebearers who faced similar circumstances during the global confrontation in the 1950s and strove for arms reduction and a nuclear weapons-free zone in Central Europe.

There are no easy solutions to conflicts, but a diplomatic and peaceful solution must be found. The alternative is unthinkable:  large-scale death and the destruction of life-supporting infrastructure, nuclear power plants, and the possible displacement of millions of people within Europe. But added to this is the nuclear threat, ever present, that comes with any war between nuclear armed nations. In this conflict, four states possess nuclear weapons and have first strike policies.

We call on all conflict parties to:

  • Cease making threats and renounce military escalation
  • Pull back all troops and arms from the borders on all sides of Ukraine
  • Prevent additional states from directly participating in military conflict.
  • Discuss confidence building measures and underlying needs on both sides and how to address these
  • Stop blaming each other for starting the conflict and begin afresh
  • Commence with talks on nuclear disarmament with the goal of verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide
  • Begin preparations to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

We call on all countries in Europe to help to avert war and a humanitarian disaster by proposing and applauding de-escalatory measures.

Our call for a continuous diplomatic effort to solve the political crisis does not mean agreement with certain political positions. We seek to prevent a potentially uncontrollable conflict which might escalate even into a nuclear war.

Signatures

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Dr. Gustav Loretan, MD, Switzerland - 14.02.2022
Dr. Gabriele Scherm, - 14.02.2022
Dr. Bernhard Josef Estermann, MD, Switzerland - 14.02.2022
Dr. Rainer Stephan, MD, IPPNW, Germany - 14.02.2022
Priest Hiltrud Warntjen, - 14.02.2022
Jacki Hoover (Morse), - 14.02.2022
Dr. Ulla Baurhenn, MD, Germany - 14.02.2022
Rike Lindemann, - 14.02.2022
Dr. Helmut Lohrer, MD, IPPNW Germany - 14.02.2022
Dr Nikolaus Kau, - 14.02.2022
Dr. Ulrich Randolf-Weiß, - 14.02.2022
Dr. Felix Haupt, MD, Germany - 14.02.2022
Dr. Barbara Preiss-Leger, MD, - 14.02.2022
Marje Lück, - 14.02.2022
Prof. Alan Maryon-Davis, Medact, UK - 14.02.2022
Dr Kloss Erich, - 14.02.2022
Mechthild Vatterodt, - 14.02.2022
Jan Kaiser, - 14.02.2022
Gerd Steiner, - 14.02.2022
Ulrich Niebuhr, - 14.02.2022
Theres Blöchlinger, - 14.02.2022
Ideal Schenk, - 14.02.2022
Dr. Martin Lischka, MD, Austria - 14.02.2022
Dr. Eckhard Korsch, - 14.02.2022
Werner Knopf, - 14.02.2022
Stephan Huesson, - 14.02.2022
Dr.med. Susanne Flor, - 14.02.2022
Dr. med. Helga Frohoff, - 14.02.2022
Ranjith Jayasekera, Vice President Sri-Lanka Doctors for Peace and Development - 14.02.2022
Dr. Veit Göller, - 14.02.2022
Dr. Alfred Estelmann, IPPNW Nuremberg - 14.02.2022
Jan Zambrzycki, PhD, - 14.02.2022
Doz. Dr. Hanns Moshammer, MD, - 14.02.2022
Dr Michael Schober, - 14.02.2022
Jans Fromow, MD, MSc, PhD, IPPNW Mexico - 14.02.2022
Fausto Miguel Lechuga Ortiz, MD, MSc., - 14.02.2022
Dr Rosie Yuille, - 14.02.2022
Dr. Axel Orozco Hernández, - 14.02.2022
Roland Thele, - 14.02.2022
Claudia Gassner, - 14.02.2022
Dr Jenny Grounds, - 14.02.2022
Dr. Regina Arendt, - 14.02.2022
Dr. Nikolaus von Abendroth, - 13.02.2022
Johanna von Abendroth, - 13.02.2022
Dr. Burkhard Staude, - 13.02.2022
Dr. Ursula Maehner-Ehrig, MD, Austria - 13.02.2022
Dr. Andrzej Tomaszewski, - 13.02.2022
Armin Kröning, - 13.02.2022
Johannes Hahn, - 13.02.2022
Gabriela Rodríguez, Médico cirujano y partero - 13.02.2022

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