IPPNW statement on the Korean nuclear crisis


 

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April 5, 2013
tags: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, IPPNW, North Korea, nuclear disarmament, nuclear war, nuclear weapons, South Korea
by IPPNW

[The co-presidents of IPPNW have sent the following letter to the leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, and the United States, in response to the escalating series of nuclear threats over the past several days.]

The use of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula must be prevented. Regardless of the reasons for the current escalation in tensions, the recent displays of nuclear force by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and by the US, on behalf of its ally the Republic of Korea, can have only one of two outcomes: either both sides will step back from the precipice or deterrence will fail and millions of people will suffer the fate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The humanitarian consequences of the detonation of nuclear weapons, regardless of who might use them or where, were examined in depth only one month ago in Oslo, at a conference attended by 127 States. The sobering scientific and medical analysis presented in Oslo—millions dead; millions more suffering from injuries, burns, and radiation sickness without hope of medical treatment; social and economic collapse; and the potential for global climate disruption and nuclear-war-induced famine—compelled the participants to call for accelerated action to delegitimize nuclear weapons and to eliminate them from the world’s arsenals. This has been IPPNW’s core message since 1980. The current crisis only underscores the urgency of negotiating a comprehensive, global treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons.

As long as nuclear weapons exist, adversaries who own them will be tempted to engage in nuclear threats and counter-threats calculated to make the other side back down. This is why nuclear deterrence is already a bankrupt policy. Should this be the moment when deterrence fails, as it eventually must, both North and South Korea will be devastated. Even if the use of nuclear weapons were confined to the Korean peninsula, unlikely as that would be, the repercussions for the rest of the world would be catastrophic.

Expressions of willingness—or even intent—to use nuclear weapons, either preemptively or in retaliation, provide security to no one and increase the risk of mutual self-destruction. IPPNW urges the DPRK, the ROK, and the US to refrain from further rhetorical provocations and inflammatory displays of force, and to reopen diplomatic channels where cooler heads can prevail.

 

 

Nuclear weapons must be eradicated for all our sakes- Desmond Tutu


No nation should own nuclear arms – not Iran, not North Korea, and not their critics who take the moral high ground

(FILES) This file picture taken by North

As an Oslo conference on nuclear weapons starts, we should not accept that a ‘select few nations can ensure the security of all by having the capacity to destroy all.’ Photograph: Kns/AFP/Getty Images

We cannot intimidate others into behaving well when we ourselves are misbehaving. Yet that is precisely what nations armed with nuclear weapons hope to do by censuring North Korea for its nuclear tests and sounding alarm bells over Iran’s pursuit of enriched uranium. According to their logic, a select few nations can ensure the security of all by having the capacity to destroy all.

 

Until we overcome this double standard – until we accept that nuclear weapons are abhorrent and a grave danger no matter who possesses them, that threatening a city with radioactive incineration is intolerable no matter the nationality or religion of its inhabitants – we are unlikely to make meaningful progress in halting the spread of these monstrous devices, let alone banishing them from national arsenals.

 

Why, for instance, would a proliferating state pay heed to the exhortations of the US and Russia, which retain thousands of their nuclear warheads on high alert? How can Britain, France and China expect a hearing on non-proliferation while they squander billions modernising their nuclear forces? What standing has Israel to urge Iran not to acquire the bomb when it harbours its own atomic arsenal?

 

Nuclear weapons do not discriminate; nor should our leaders. The nuclear powers must apply the same standard to themselves as to others: zero nuclear weapons. Whereas the international community has imposed blanket bans on other weapons with horrendous effects – from biological and chemical agents to landmines and cluster munitions – it has not yet done so for the very worst weapons of all. Nuclear weapons are still seen as legitimate in the hands of some. This must change.

 

Around 130 governments, various UN agencies, the Red Cross and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons are gathering in Oslo this week to examine the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons and the inability of relief agencies to provide an effective response in the event of a nuclear attack. For too long, debates about nuclear arms have been divorced from such realities, focusing instead on geopolitics and narrow concepts of national security.

 

With enough public pressure, I believe that governments can move beyond the hypocrisy that has stymied multilateral disarmament discussions for decades, and be inspired and persuaded to embark on negotiations for a treaty to outlaw and eradicate these ultimate weapons of terror. Achieving such a ban would require somewhat of a revolution in our thinking, but it is not out of the question. Entrenched systems can be turned on their head almost overnight if there’s the will.

 

Let us not forget that it was only a few years ago when those who spoke about green energy and climate change were considered peculiar. Now it is widely accepted that an environmental disaster is upon us. There was once a time when people bought and sold other human beings as if they were mere chattels, things. But people eventually came to their senses. So it will be the case for nuclear arms, sooner or later.

 

Indeed, 184 nations have already made a legal undertaking never to obtain nuclear weapons, and three in four support a universal ban. In the early 1990s, with the collapse of apartheid nigh, South Africa voluntarily dismantled its nuclear stockpile, becoming the first nation to do so. This was an essential part of its transition from a pariah state to an accepted member of the family of nations. Around the same time, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine also relinquished their Soviet-era atomic arsenals.

 

But today nine nations still consider it their prerogative to possess these ghastly bombs, each capable of obliterating many thousands of innocent civilians, including children, in a flash. They appear to think that nuclear weapons afford them prestige in the international arena. But nothing could be further from the truth. Any nuclear-armed state, big or small, whatever its stripes, ought to be condemned in the strongest terms for possessing these indiscriminate, immoral weapons.

 

Norway row: ‘Were my parents taken away because I was bad?


by  , First Post, Dec 2, 2012

Seven-year-old Sai Sriram looks up at me with innocent eyes, with a gaze that is clearly searching for answers. He is probably wondering why I am asking for him to be sent inside when so many people and camera crew are inside his home in Miyapur on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

I am worried about the effect the picture of his parents – Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni and Anupama – that is flashing non-stop on the TV screen, will have on his young mind. At least three vernacular TV channels have jumped the gun and are incorrectly flashing that the parents have been sentenced to jail. Monday will be the critical day when an Oslo court could sentence his mother to 15 months and father to 18 months in jail.

The boy and his younger brother Abhiram, less than two and who was still being breastfed by his mother till one week ago, look lost and confused. They are upset. They don’t know why Amma is not back yet as promised.

Sai Sriram has been diagnosed with mild to moderate ADHD or attention-deficit hyperactive disorder: Firstpost

Sriram says his father is away on work. But “Nanna” (for father) has not spoken to him over Skype for a week now and he is wondering why. He obviously does not know his parents have been arrested in Norway on charges of “repeated maltreatment of their child/children by threats, violence and other wrong”.

Sai Sriram’s doctor Dr Kalyan Chakravarthy who has been interacting with the child for the last three months says Sriram thinks he was earlier punished for “bad behaviour” by being kept away from his parents for many days and now his parents have been taken away because he has been “naughty”. Sriram was taken away by the child welfare agency in Norway for eight weeks earlier this year on suspicion that the child was being `scolded and intimidated’ at home.

Do we ever realise how much children blame themselves for what they see going wrong around them, with their parents?

The developments are clearly having an adverse effect on the emotional and physical health of the seven-year-old. Sai Sriram is diagnosed with mild to moderate ADHD or attention-deficit hyperactive disorder. He had been responding positively to treatment and to the occupational therapy he was undergoing, but the absence of both parents is obviously causing tremendous trauma and the child is regressing and deteriorating.

Sriram, always a fussy eater, has not been eating well all of last week and his paternal grandmother is obviously worried about his health. Abhiram has been running fever and is asthmatic.

The children obviously miss their mothers nurturing and cuddles. Chandrasekhar’s mother Srilakshmi is in tears, unable to console the children, who are longing and crying for their parents. Both children share a strong emotional bond with their parents and that is now showing in their health and well-being, she says. “I don’t think I took as much care of my children as my daughter-in-law always does. She can’t bear to see them hurt in any way”, she said.

Anupama’s father fights his tears as he tries to explain to total strangers the credentials of his daughter as a loving mother and her husband as a caring father.

“My daughter did her B.Tech and is well-educated. But they both decided that the money he is earning is enough and they would focus on the upbringing of their children. So she remained a housewife”, he said.

Sai Sriram was born premature at seven months and from the very beginning, he had been a difficult child, who needed more patience and understanding in handling, the grandfather says.

No one in the family is denying that the elder child would be every now and then reprimanded, scolded or threatened, all of which they feel is part of the Indian style of parenting to try and discipline the child. But seen through the glares of Western perception and cultural values and put in the context of what has been often called a “draconian” Norwegian law, the parents have been criminalised and painted as villains.

Even presuming that the parents were not ideal human beings, with loads of patience and with the capacity and intention to practice progressive parenting values, condemning them to jail seems an excess beyond justification. They may have even crossed the line and committed some wrongs, but surely their intention was not to torture their child or subject him to inhuman treatment.

From all accounts, they seem to be affectionate, caring parents. It is quite possible that their frustrations sometimes broke their patience and they may have acted in a manner that they regretted only minutes later. Doesn’t it happen to all of us?

What they needed then and now is support and counselling on the best way to deal with the child and with their own emotions. Not a sentence behind bars. Friends of the couple in Norway insist there is documentary evidence to suggest that they sought help for their child and themselves. They never got that help. All they got was blame and were labelled criminals.

If putting the parents in jail is punishing a wrong, then who is going to correct the wrong of denying the children the loving care of their parents. Splitting a family this way would be to compound an error.

 

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