Friday October 6 2017
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons awarded 2017 Nobel Prize in Peace
The Hindu Net Desk
Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, holds a banner in Geneva on October 6, 2017 after the group won the Nobel Peace Prize. (AFP)
ICAN has been the leading civil society actor in the effort to achieve a prohibition of nuclear weapons under international law, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in Oslo on October 6.
The committee emphasised that “the next steps towards attaining a world free of nuclear weapons must involve the nuclear-armed states”. It said the 2017 Peace Prize called upon nuclear-armed states to initiate negotiations to gradual elimination of the world’s 15,000 nuclear weapons .
ICAN had in the past year given the efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons a new direction and new vigour, it added.
ICAN describes itself as a coalition of grass roots non-government groups in more than 100 nations. It began in Australia and was officially launched in Vienna in 2007. “We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
ICAN leader delighted
ICAN leader Beatrice Fihn was delighted with the news that the organisation is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, awards committee head Reiss-Andersen said.
Ms. Fihn told reporters, “We can’t threaten to indiscriminately slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians in the name of security. That’s not how you build security.”
Ms. Fihn said the group had received a phone call minutes before the official announcement was made. But she thought it was “a prank” and she didn’t believe it until she heard the name of the group during the Peace Prize announcement in Oslo.
A spokeswoman for ICAN said the organisation was overjoyed at winning the Peace Prize. “As you can imagine, we are elated. This is great news," Daniela Varano told Reuters. “It's great recognition for the work that the campaigners did throughout the years and especially the Hibakusha,” she said, referring to survivors of atom bombs in Japan. “Their testimony was critical, was crucial and for such an amazing success.”
ICAN said in a statement on its Facebook page, “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. 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.”
In July, 122 nations adopted a U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons but nuclear-armed states, including the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France stayed out of the talks.
The Nobel Prize seeks to bolster the case of disarmament amid nuclear tensions between the United States and North Korea and uncertainty over the fate of a 2015 deal between Iran and major powers to limit Tehran's nuclear programme.
U.S. President Donald Trump has called the Iran agreement the “worst deal ever negotiated” and a senior administration official said on Thursday that Mr. Trump is expected to announce soon that he would decertify the landmark pact.
Ms. Reiss-Andersen denied that the prize was “a kick in the leg” for Mr. Trump. She said the prize was a call to states that have nuclear weapons to fulfil earlier pledges to work towards disarmament. “The message is to remind them to the commitment they have already made that they have to work for a nuclear free world," she told Reuters.
The United Nations said the award would help bolster efforts to get the 55 ratifications by countries for the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to come into force. “I hope this prize will be conducive for the entry into force of this treaty,” U.N. Chief Spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told a news briefing.
More than 300 nominations
The Norwegian committee sorted through more than 300 nominations for the award, which recognises both accomplishments and intentions.
The prize announcement culminates a week in which Nobel laureates have been named in Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Literature.
The Norwegian committee does not release names of those it considers for the prize, but said 215 individuals and 103 organisations were nominated.
Observers saw the Syrian volunteer humanitarian organisation White Helmets as a top contender, along with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini for shepherding the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme.
(With inputs from AP, Reuters)
Friday October 6 2017 - 10:30PM
Nobel peace prize awarded to Melbourne-born International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
By Melissa Cunningham
During a time when the risk of nuclear conflict is imminent, the prestigious Nobel peace prize has been awarded to a Melbourne-born advocacy group that pushed to establish the first treaty to ban nuclear weapons.
The Nobel Committee honoured the now Geneva-based group, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, "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."
The launch of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in Melbourne in 2007.
The group worked to advance the negotiations that led to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was passed earlier this year at the United Nations.
In July, 122 nations voted to pass the treaty, but nuclear-armed states including the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France stayed out of the talks.
Australia is also yet to sign the treaty.
In order to come into effect, the treaty must be signed and ratified by at least 50 countries. Fifty-three countries have signed and three countries, Guyana, Thailand and the Vatican City, have ratified the treaty.
ICAN describes itself as a coalition of grassroots non-government groups in more than 100 nations.
ICAN Asia-Pacific director Tim Wright said the group was elated by the honour and hoped it would mount pressure on countries to join the movement to end the human destruction caused by nuclear weapons.
"We hope this will only boost our campaign and put pressure on countries who haven't signed the treaty yet, including Australia," he said.
"The Australian government, not only failed to participate in negotiations, but it actually tried very hard to stop the talks from taking place. We're calling on Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to change Australia's opposition to the treaty and sign just as our neighbours in south-east Asia and the Pacific have done."
"If there is any time to prohibit the use of nuclear weapons, the time is surely now. This is a very dangerous moment in time and there is a very real risk that the situation could spiral out of control. We need to act now before these weapons are ever used again."
He said the group had worked closely alongside survivors of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the most damaging chapter in the history of British nuclear weapons testing in Australia.
aty," he said.
"They spoke about the terrible ongoing consequences and without those survivors this wouldn't have been possible."
The group originated in Melbourne a decade ago and was then launched internationally in Vienna in 2007.
"We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time," Berit Reiss-Andersen, the leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said on Friday.
"It is a great honour to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 in recognition of our role in achieving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons," ICAN said in a statement.
"This historic agreement 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 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 of us."
Once effective, the treaty will categorically outlaw the worst weapons of mass destruction and established pathway for 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," ICAN said.
Citing the increased threat of North Korea, Ms Reiss-Andersen called on nuclear-armed states to initiate negotiations to gradually eliminate the weapons.
Ms Reiss-Andersen said while similar prohibitions have been reached on chemical and biological weapons, land mines and cluster munitions nuclear weapons have avoided a similar international ban.
"The organisation is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement.
The committee that chose the winner sorted through more than 300 nominations for this year's award.
The prize, worth $1.42 million, will be presented in Oslo on December 10.