Aims and Scope
• The risk to humans and all living beings from ionizing radiation is higher than has previously been understood.
• This international congress gives an update about the medical consequences of radiation exposure and provides insights into legal approaches in this context.
• International speakers include lawyers, physicians and experts on nuclear weapons, activists as well as victims of nuclear accidents and nuclear testing.
• The conference will include considerations of legal developments that can open the way to the recognition and legal protection of future generations. A publication on the proceedings is planned and has been tentatively accepted by an international publisher.
There is a growing awareness about the catastrophic impact on human health from the nuclear weapons and nuclear power industries. The former atmospheric nuclear tests at a number of global test sites have caused irreversible harm to natives living in the test regions. Further threats to current and future generations arise from the risks of nuclear-weapons-use and additional nuclear disasters, as well as from the extremely hazardous and long-term nature of radioactive waste. Additionally uranium mining and nuclear accidents such as Mayak, Chernobyl and Fukushima have caused and still cause widespread contamination of the earth and water.
As doctors and lawyers we are concerned about the progressive “nuclearisation” of the globe and frustrated about the resistance of nuclear weapon states (USA, Russia, China, France and Great Britain) to honor article VI of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT). This article requires all NPT signatory states to undertake effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear and general disarmament. The traditional 5 nuclear powers still base their military doctrines on nuclear weapons and the concept of nuclear deterrence, thereby risking an accidental or intentional, possibly terroristic use of those weapons. Furthermore, given the arguments and risks mentioned, the ongoing deceitful publicity of the nuclear power industry must be considered a transgenerational crime, just as the holding on to nuclear weapons. Both have, still do and will further inflict the quality of life, the economic status and the rights of people in the future. In fact, we believe that human rights not only apply to all humans presently living on this globe, but also to those coming after us: the rights of future generations! These may be forced to live, under growing security threats, in a world with depleted resources and a destroyed environment.
In these times of increased geopolitical tension and uncertainty we believe that the interdisciplinary dialogue is necessary. In our meeting we will try to tie together human health, human rights and environmental issues in a transgenerational perspective. The conference will bring together lawyers, physicians and experts on nuclear weapons, activists as well as victims of nuclear accidents and nuclear testing. We will learn from past lawsuits, which can assist current and future cases. One of the key aspects determining success or failure of lawsuits is the medical evidence of harm, an impact which the nuclear industry attempts to underplay. However, evidence provided by recent medical research indicates that the risk to humans and all living beings from ionizing radiation is higher than has previously been understood. Finally, law and medicine seek to not only address past and current but also prevent future harm. The conference will include considerations of legal developments that can open the way to the recognition and legal protection of future generations.