Enter the Red Cross….Dr Marcel Junod ‘We (…) witnessed a sight totally unlike anything we had ever seen before. The centre of the city was a sort of white patch, flattened and smooth like the palm of a hand. Nothing remained. The slightest trace of houses seemed to have disappeared. The white patch was about two kilometres in diameter. Around its edge was a red belt, marking the area where houses had burned, extending quite a long way further (..) covering almost the rest of the city.’ ICRC delegate Dr Marcel Junod, first foreign Doctor into Hiroshima, 1945. ICRC photo.
Where to start on medical care? Red Cross hospital: One of the few medical facilities standing in Hiroshima. Thousands of medical staff across the city were killed, severely affecting relief efforts.
An early medical report ‘…Visited Hiroshima thirtieth. Conditions appalling STOP. City wiped out eighty percent. All hospitals destroyed or seriously damaged. Inspected two emergency hospitals. Conditions beyond description FULL STOP. Effect of bomb mysteriously serious STOP. Many victims apparently recovering suddenly suffer fatal release due to decomposition of white blood cells…now dying in great numbers.’ Fritz Bilfinger, ICRC delegate, writing from Hiroshima, 30 August 1945
Henri Dunant Battle of Solferino, 1859 Volunteers care for all sides The red cross emblem The Red Cross as a neutral relief organization Geneva Conventions Summary: the Red Cross Movement
IHL is a set of rules which seek to limit the effect of armed conflict on people and objects. It is also known as the law of war. IHL protects certain categories of people, such as the wounded, prisoners of war and civilians, and the medical/humanitarian workers bringing assistance. International Humanitarian Law (IHL)
IHL is a set of rules which seek to limit the effect of armed conflict on people and objects. It is also known as the law of war. IHL also regulates the ways war is fought – the strategy/tactics of battle, and the weapons used. International Humanitarian Law (IHL)
IHL is a set of rules which seek to limit the effect of armed conflict on people and objects. It is also known as the law of war. Red Cross has a mandate to promote IHL, to teach it to combatants everywhere, and to keep it up to date / develop it further to meet new circumstances in history. International Humanitarian Law (IHL)
Distinction Military necessity Proportionality Unnecessary suffering How wars must be fought
IHL demands that military actions go no further than meeting a legitimate military aim. The destructive force of nuclear weapons is unparalleled. International Humanitarian Law FAILS IHL
International Humanitarian Law IHL bans weapons which cause unnecessary and superfluous suffering. The human suffering from nuclear weapons is unspeakable. FAILS IHL
International Humanitarian Law Weapons must not cause damage to the natural environment that is widespread, long-term and severe. The effects of nuclear weapons are catastrophic and cannot be contained. FAILS IHL
International Humanitarian Law IHL bans weapons that cannot distinguish between civilian sites and military targets. No nuclear bomb can do that. Nagasaki, before and after FAILS IHL
Our message Nuclear weapons cause horrific human suffering and are fundamentally contrary to IHL. Australian Red Cross can hardly be true to its goal ‘to prevent & alleviate human suffering…to protect life and health’ without speaking out.
And today’s more powerful weapons Potentially equal Hiroshima X 7 No adequate medical / humanitarian response would be possible Blast could be followed by worldwide famine Photo source: www.mysticpolitics.com Photo courtesy US Navy. Japanese soldier walks through Hiroshima one month after bomb.
Global impetus Australian, Japanese, Norwegian Red Cross and ICRC led the way in re-raising the issue in 2011, and whole Movement is now engaged Global push by National Societies to their governments …For States to pursue with urgency and determination negotiations to prohibit the use of and completely eliminate nuclear weapons through a legally binding international agreement… Use ARC website to track progress of major government meetings….Mexico, next to Austria
‘Make Nuclear Weapons the Target’ Red Cross brings Weight of 13 million members and volunteers Trusted non-political reputation The issue is humanitarian, beyond politics Public education campaign in Australia