IPPNW Switzerland is the Swiss affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a global network of medical professionals (doctors, medical students, other health workers) who share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation.
Founded in 1980, IPPNW was an inspiration born of the Cold War. With the world divided into two militarized camps poised on the brink of nuclear war, a small group of Soviet and American doctors took a leap of faith. They reasoned that their common interest in survival was more powerful than the ideological divides between them. They believed that their obligation as physicians included a common commitment to the prevention of nuclear war. For their pioneering work to de-politicise nuclear politics and promote nuclear disarmament, IPPNW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.
In 1993, IPPNW was instrumental in taking a case in the International Court of Justice which then declared that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is generally illegal due to their catastrophic humanitarian consequences. In 1995, IPPNW co-founded the Abolition 2000 Global Network for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons – which has membership of over 2000 organisations around the world supporting negotiations for a global treaty to abolish nuclear weapons under effective international verification, enforcement and control. In 2007, IPPNW established an International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which now has 286 partners in 80 countries, to build public awareness and support for nuclear abolition.
IPPNW Switzerland plays a leading role in international activities of IPPNW, which included hosting the 2010 IPPNW World Congress in Basel.
IPPNW Switzerland is also committed the phase-out of nuclear energy through the promotion of renewable energy and energy conservation. The proliferation, health and environmental risks of nuclear energy have become more prominent recently with additional countries acquiring nuclear weapons through their nuclear energy programs (India, Pakistan and North Korea) and with the Fukushima nuclear energy accident. IPPNW Switzerland has helped move the Swiss government to agree to phase-out nuclear energy by 2034, and is helping other countries to reconsider the nuclear energy option.
IPPNW is registered in Switzerland as Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). The Board of Directors includes Andreas Nidecker (President of the Basel Peace Office) and Guy Morin (President of the Canton of Basel).