Viewing Nuclear Weapons through a Humanitarian Lens

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There is renewed and deep international concern about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from the detonation of nuclear weapons in populated areas. Yet 25 years after the end of the Cold War, nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence remain central to the security doctrines of a significant number of states. Drawing on a range of perspectives, this volume explores what viewing nuclear weapons through a humanitarian lens entails, and why it is of value. Recent developments in this respect are also examined, and what these could mean for nuclear arms control in the near future.



Tracing notions about humanitarian consequences

The unanimous expression by the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of deep concern at the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences” of any use of nuclear weapons has given new impetus to the cause of nuclear disarmament. This paper examines the notion of catastrophic humanitarian consequences and the origins of similar expressions as orienting concepts in the context of use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in particular.


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