Mexico (ICRC) – The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, today urged governments in Latin America and the Caribbean to support the negotiations on a new treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.
"The ICRC looks forward to working closely with your governments to make a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons a reality, and pursue broader efforts to rid the world of these weapons once and for all," said Peter Maurer. "Protecting humanity from these dangers is a humanitarian imperative," he said in a video message shown today at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco. The event was held at the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs as part of the 25th session of the General Conference of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The ICRC president went on to say that the Treaty of Tlatelolco was a "critical pillar of international disarmament law." Since it came into force on 25 April 1969, it "has promised protection and security to millions of people against the catastrophic dangers that nuclear weapons pose," and "has been a reference and an inspiration for the later development of nuclear-weapon-free zones in Africa, Central Asia and South-East Asia."
In addition to highlighting the historical significance of establishing the first nuclear-weapon-free zone in a densely populated part of the world, President Maurer underlined that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean were as committed to nuclear disarmament now as they were 50 years ago.
The ICRC's stance echoes that of the whole International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which in 2011 made a historic appeal for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons to become a reality once and for all.
The ICRC will continue reaching out to States which rely on nuclear weapons in their defence doctrines and will call on them to join this effort for the prohibition and elimination of such weapons: "If they cannot do so at this time, we appeal to them to take measures to urgently reduce the risk of intentional or accidental use," added President Maurer.
For further information, please contact:
Yves Heller, ICRC Mexico, tel. +52 55 2581 2110 ext. 4961, or mob. +52 55 2755 1794
Peter Maurer's video message:
Click here to read Peter Maurer's speech