Swedes push for nuclear ban
9 July 2012
ICAN Sweden took part in the week-long Almedalsveckan – widely considered one of the most important political gatherings in Sweden – to build public support for a nuclear weapons ban. Together with the Swedish chapters of WILPF and IPPNW, Pernilla Lundmark, campaign coordinator for ICAN Sweden, organized an action in the central square of the city of Visby, Gotland’s capital.
Physicians from IPPNW offered to check the blood pressure of passers-by, telling them to take preventive measures and support a ban on nuclear weapons before it’s too late. Information manager of IPPNW Sweden, Josefin Lind, also made the case for a treaty banning nuclear weapons in a panel discussion on nuclear weapons and security.
Ms Lundmark believes their presence opened people’s eyes to the danger nuclear weapons pose to everyday people: “Presenting ICAN during this week has made our demand for a ban on nuclear weapons known to the public and the wider NGO community. We’re showing that we are a new up-and-coming force that is present in relevant forums, and that our campaign should be taken into account. This will be vital for our work during the year.”
The support for a treaty banning nuclear weapons has been lamentably weak among Swedish policymakers for many years. By building a strong campaign coalition, however, ICAN Sweden aims to challenge this. “Carl Bildt, our foreign minister, stopped to take a look at our campaign pins, and Center Party MP Kerstin Lundgren said that she would welcome a discussion on the idea of a treaty banning nuclear weapons. But they’ve only seen the start of ICAN Sweden,” Ms Lundmark said.