International Campaign To Abolish Nuclear Weapons Receives The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Comittee on Friday named the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) as the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. The committee said ICAN had received the prize 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."

"We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time. Some states are modernizing their nuclear arsenals and there is a real danger that more nations will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea. Nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth," the Nobel Committee said. It added: "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." The committee also emphasized that awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN was meant to send a signal to nuclear-armed states to consider their responsibilities with regard to disarmament.

Positive international reactions

A spokeswoman for the German government said Germany supported the goal of a world without nuclear weapons and congratulated the committee on its decision. The UN called the award "a good omen" for the eventual ratification of a treaty banning nuclear weapons that was signed by 122 countries in July. ICAN played a major role in bringing about the treaty. However, the agreement is largely symbolic, as none of the nine known world nuclear powers signed up to it.

NATO reservations

NATO has given a far more reserved reception to the announcement of ICAN's win, saying "realities" of global security must be considered in all bids to ban nuclear weapons. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said it was good that the Nobel Committee had drawn attention to the issue of disarmament with its choice and that the alliance continued to be committed to creating the conditions for a world free from nuclear weapons. But he reiterated his criticism of the recent treaty, saying that a "verifiable and balanced reduction of nuclear weapons" as enshrined in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty should be the emphasis for now. NATO would remain a nuclear alliance as long as nuclear weapons existed, he added.

Coalition of grassroots groups

According to its own description, the Geneva-based ICAN brings together grassroots non-government groups in more than 100 nations to form a coalition. It started off in Australia, and was officially launched in Vienna in 2007.


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