Nuclear disarmament group International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its decade-long campaign to rid the world of the atomic bomb as nuclear-fuelled crises swirl over North Korea and Iran.
"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 ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons," said Norway's Nobel committee president Berit Reiss-Andersen.
Addressing the ongoing risk of a global nuclear crisis, the Nobel Committee said in its press release, "Some states are modernizing their nuclear arsenals, and there is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea. Nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth. Through binding international agreements, the international community has previously adopted prohibitions against land mines, cluster munitions and biological and chemical weapons."
"Through its work, ICAN has helped to fill this legal gap. An important argument in the rationale for prohibiting nuclear weapons is the unacceptable human suffering that a nuclear war will cause," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.
Lauding ICAN's efforts, the Nobel Committee remarked, "ICAN is a coalition of non-governmental organizations from around 100 different countries around the globe. The coalition has been a driving force in prevailing upon the world’s nations to pledge to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. To date, 108 states have made such a commitment, known as the Humanitarian Pledge."
The statement, read by committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen, said that "through its inspiring and innovative support for the UN negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, ICAN has played a major part in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress."
Asked by journalists whether the prize was essentially symbolic, given that no international measures against nuclear weapons have been reached, Reiss-Andersen said that "what will not have an impact is being passive."
Friday's award — the climax to a week of prize-giving honouring the world's leading lights in fields from physics and medicine to literature — comes as another non-proliferation deal, Iran's 2015 accord with world powers, is under increasing pressure from Trump.
The US leader has threatened to bin the Iran nuclear agreement altogether, saying Tehran is developing missiles that may be used to deliver a nuclear warhead when the deal's restrictions are lifted in 2025.
He is due to report to Congress by 15 October on whether Iran is still complying with the deal and whether it remains in US interests to stick by it.
Tensions between the US and North Korea, which has test-fired two missiles over Japan and conducted a string of apparent underground nuclear tests this year, have raised the risk of a nuclear confrontation to its highest level in decades.
"This year's Peace Prize is also a call upon these states to initiate serious negotiations with a view to the gradual, balanced and carefully monitored elimination of the almost 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world," said Reiss-Andersen.
More than 300 people and organisations were thought to have been nominated for this year's Peace Prize, including the UN's refugee agency UNHCR, Syria's White Helmets rescue service and Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege.
The Peace Prize, which comes with a golden medal and a cheque for nine million Swedish kronor (943,000 euros, $1.1 million) will be presented in Oslo on 10 December, the anniversary of the death of its founder, Swedish businessman and philanthropist Alfred Nobel.
With inputs from AFP and AP
Published Date: Oct 06, 2017 15:00 PM | Updated Date: Oct 06, 2017 15:34 PM