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Statement

Medical Action Group (MAG) response to the nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

The abolition of nuclear weapons is a fundamental human right in a democratic world.

The Medical Action Group (MAG), a member of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) is deeply concerned over the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DRPK).

As an organization of doctors and medical professionals in the Philippines, we deplore the production, testing, possession, deployment and use of nuclear weapons in view of their health and environmental effects.

The World Health Assembly adopted a resolution in 1983 asserting that “nuclear weapons constitute the greatest immediate threat to the health and survival of mankind.” The World Medical Association (WMA) condemned nuclear weapons in 1998, and just renewed its call for their elimination at the WMA annual meeting in Seoul, in October 2009.

In 1984 the United Nations Human Rights Committee noted that "It is evident that the designing, testing, manufacture, possession, deployment and use of nuclear weapons are among the greatest threats to the right to life which confront mankind today," and concluded that "The production, testing, possession, deployment and use of nuclear weapons should be prohibited and recognized as crimes against humanity."[1]

The nuclear war and security policy based on the capability to threaten the use of nuclear weapons is antithesis of health as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The actual human cost of the nuclear arms race will never be known. Many of the individual cases of health problems and deaths likely to be caused by the nuclear weapons cycle are difficult to link to it. Radioactive elements enter the body furtively and do their damage secretly leaving no business cards. They will continue their rampage until they are exhausted, which for some radioactive elements, will be over a hundred thousand years from now.

MAG with the IPPNW calls for increased contact and communication with the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and will work with our affiliate, the Korean Anti-Nuke Peace Physicians (KANPP) towards that end. We also call on all parties to show restraint so that this situation does not escalate into a military confrontation.

MAG is one with the IPPNW in the campaign for the elimination of all nuclear weapons and that “the double standard by which some states have claimed that nuclear weapons are essential to their security while denying that right to others is both reprehensible and unsustainable. The urgent need for a global nuclear-weapon-free zone through the negotiation and adoption of a Nuclear Weapons Convention is the real lesson of this unfortunate decision by a tragically isolated state.”

In solidarity,

Petronilo Pascual, M.D.

Chairperson

Medical Action Group

April 27, 2012

[1] Human Rights Committee General Comment 13 (23) on Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, November 2, 1984.