Anti-Nuclear Weapons Group Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Photo by MARTIAL TREZZINI/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9121145a) International Campaign to abolish Nuclear Weapons awarded 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, Geneva Geneve Genf, Switzerland - 06 Oct 2017

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is the winner of this year`s Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Committee announced.

“The organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons,” said Norway’s Nobel committee president Berit Reiss-Andersen. She also called on nuclear-armed states to initiate negotiations to gradually eliminate the weapons.

“We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time,” Reiss-Andersen continued, especially citing the North Korea nuclear crisis.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the group and the leader of the grassroots ICAN organization, was delighted with the prize. Fihn said that it is a huge signal that the group`s work is needed and appreciated. She added that US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un should know that nuclear weapons are illegal and that this issue should get global media coverage.

Ican, a coalition of hundreds of non-governmental organizations, is 10 years old and is based in Geneva, Switzerland, The Telegraph writes. Its aim was to consolidate the anti-nuclear movement and push for a global ban akin to those in place for biological and chemical weapons and landmines. Through 2007, ICAN began organizing marches and started attracting high-profile support from mayors, Nobel laureates and weapons inspectors around the world.

Later supporters would include the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Yoko Ono, and then-UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, who would go on to say that the movement was “on the right side of history.” The group was particularly inspired by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for its work leading to the Mine Ban Treaty.

It operates as a coalition of 468 non-governmental organizations across 101 countries. ICAN has launched a schools campaign and one calling on banks and pension funds not to “bank on the bomb”. A UN resolution calling for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons was adopted in 2009. In July, after pressure from Ican, 122 nations backed a UN treaty designed to ban and eventually eliminate all nuclear weapons. But none of the nine known nuclear powers in the world – including the UK and the US – endorsed it.

“ICAN has helped to fill this legal gap, describing it as a driving force in prevailing upon the world’s nations to pledge to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders in efforts to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons,” the Nobel Committee wrote in the clarification of this year`s winner. “It is the firm conviction of the Norwegian Nobel Committee that ICAN, more than anyone else, has in the past year given the efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons a new direction and new vigor,” it concludes.

The group will receive nine million Swedish kronor, or just over a million dollars, along with a medal and a diploma at a ceremony in December. The previous winners include former US President Barrack Obama, former South African President Nelson Mandella, activists Malala Yousafzai, Liu Xiaobo and Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa and many others. Although the prestige of the reward remains, a few controversial choices did raise questions about the committee’s norms and standards.

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