Campaign against nuclear weapons awarded Nobel Peace Prize

112 countries adopted the International Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in July

Campaign against nuclear weapons awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Beatrice Fihn (R) of ICAN speaks to journalists after the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize, 05-10-2017. Image: Christiane Oelrich/DPA/PA Images

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017.

This morning, the Norwegian Nobel Committee (NNC) said it had chosen to honour the campaign in recognition of its work supporting the International Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was approved in July.

122 nations adopted the treaty in July on July 7th – however at least 50 countries were required to sign and ratify it in order to bring it into effect.

Ireland became one of the 53 countries to officially sign up to it on September 20th this year.

The agreement does not include nuclear-armed states including the US, Russia, China, Britain and France.

Catastrophic humanitarian consequences

The NNC said it has chosen ICAN for 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.”

It said that we now live in a world where ” the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time.”

Pointing to the ongoing modernisation of nuclear arsenals among nuclear-armed states – as well as the dangers posed by North Korea and others, the committee warned that “nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth.”

“Calm before the storm”

The award was announced as the US President Donald Trump held a high-level meeting with security staff in the White House.

Following the meeting he told reporters the world is in “the calm before the storm” – but refused to explain what he meant.

He has previously threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea and is widely expected to “de-certify” the Iran nuclear deal in the coming days.

ICAN

Launched in Vienna in 2007, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of grassroots NGO’s in more than 100 nations.

In a statement on its Facebook page this afternoon, the campaign said the treaty “offers a powerful, much-needed alternative to a world in which threats of mass destruction are allowed to prevail and, indeed, are escalating.”

“By harnessing the power of the people, we have worked to bring an end to the most destructive weapon ever created – the only weapon that poses an existential threat to all humanity,” it said.

“The treaty categorically outlaws the worst weapons of mass destruction and establishes a clear pathway to their total elimination.

“It is a response to the ever-deepening concern of the international community that any use of nuclear weapons would inflict catastrophic, widespread and long-lasting harm on people and our living planet.

“This is a time of great global tension, when fiery rhetoric could all too easily lead us, inexorably, to unspeakable horror.

“The spectre of nuclear conflict looms large once more. If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons; that moment is now.

“This award shines a needed light on the path the ban treaty provides towards a world free of nuclear weapons. Before it is too late, we must take that path.”

The leader of the Norwegian Nobel committee said the prize as a call to nuclear-armed states to fulfil earlier pledges and work towards disarmament.