Physician leaders welcome next step in nuclear treaty enforcement

The coming into force today of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has been warmly welcomed by the World Medical Association. The treaty now becomes part of international law, binding on the states that ratify it.

In a statement, the WMA President Dr. David Barbe said this was an essential step towards the prevention of nuclear war and added ‘Covid-19 has shown the vital need for the world to come together to fight a deadly pandemic. In the same way the world must come together to ban nuclear weapons, which are even more deadly’.

Dr. Barbe emphasized the responsibility of members of the WMA to remind their governments of the dreadful health consequences of using nuclear weapons and to urge them in the strongest possible terms to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
‘As physicians we have a duty to preserve life, to safeguard the health of patients and to dedicate ourselves to the service of humanity’.

The WMA, together with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Council of Nurses, the International Federation of Medical Student Associations, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and the World Federation of Public Health Associations have today issued a joint statement welcoming the Treaty entering into force.

They declare: ‘Ending nuclear weapons before they end humankind and many other lifeforms is an urgent health and humanitarian imperative. The treaty is a crucial step towards the eradication of nuclear weapons. We urge all nations to seize the opportunity the treaty offers and sign, ratify and faithfully implement it’.