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Nuclear weapons and international humanitarian law

19-03-2013

Nuclear weapons raise a number of concerns under international humanitarian law. These concerns are primarily related to the impact these weapons can have on civilians and civilian areas, and to their effects on the environment. Their use in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and subsequent studies have shown that nuclear weapons have immediate and long-term consequences due to the heat, blast and radiation generated by the explosion and, in many cases, the distances over which these forces are spread.

The sheer scale of the casualties and destruction resulting from the use of a nuclear weapon in or near a populated area and its long-term effects on health and the environment raise serious questions about the compatibility of this weapon with international humanitarian law.