Red Cross conference in Hiroshima concludes after drafting action plan to advance nuclear abolition

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from 24 nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), with other entities, have staged their first international conference in Hiroshima to promote the abolition of nuclear weapons. The conference closed on May 17 after drafting an action plan for the next four years, which focuses on conveying the conviction that nuclear arms are contrary to the ideals of humanity. The action plan will be officially adopted at a meeting of the Council of Delegates in Sydney, Australia in November.

The action plan contains about 20 items, which include disseminating information to the public by, for instance, creating online content at Red Cross sites so that people have access to A-bomb survivors’ accounts; strengthening the call for nations to pursue nuclear disarmament; and sharing information among Red Cross organizations.

The conference participants also agreed to hold a gathering in November 2015 at which each Red Cross nation will report on the progress of their activities, in line with the action plan.

At its Council of Delegates meeting held in November 2011, the Red Cross adopted the first resolution declaring that nuclear weapons are inhumane. That resolution has triggered a new trend in nuclear disarmament. At the Hiroshima conference, too, the focus was on the inhumanity of nuclear arms and a resolution was drafted calling for stronger efforts to advance nuclear abolition. The draft will be discussed at the Council of Delegates.

After the conference closed, Osamu Tasaka, director general of the international department of the Japanese Red Cross, stressed the success of the gathering, saying, “The fact that the conference was held in Hiroshima led to spirited discussion that revolved around the consequences of the atomic bombing.”

(Originally published on May 18, 2013)