Anti-nuclear weapons campaign ICAN wins 2017 Nobel Peace Prize

Britta Pedersen, AFP | ICAN activists wear masks of US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jon-un while posing with a mock missile in front of the embassy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in Berlin, on September 13, 2017.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, as the Norwegian Nobel Committee warned that the risk of a nuclear conflict is greater than for a long time.


ICAN describes itself as a coalition of grassroots 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, the leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

"Some states are modernising their nuclear arsenals, and there is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea," she added.

In July, 122 nations adopted a UN 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 prize "sends a message to all nuclear-armed states and all states that continue to rely on nuclear weapons for security that it is unacceptable behaviour", ICAN executive director Beatrice Fihn told reporters in Geneva.

"[W]e can't threaten to indiscriminately slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians in the name of security. That's not how you build security," Fihn added, rejecting the notion that nuclear deterrence enhances global security.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN, talks about the 'escalation of threats to use nuclear weapons'

Friday's award 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 to curb Iran’s nuclear programme.

US President Donald Trump has called the Iran agreement the "worst deal ever negotiated" and a senior administration official said on Thursday that Trump is expected to announce soon that he will “decertify” the landmark pact.

"The prize is coded support to the Iran nuclear deal," Oeivind Stenersen, a historian of the peace prize, told The Associated Press.

"I think this was wise because recognising the Iran deal itself could have been seen as giving support to the Iranian state," Stenerson added.The Nobel Prize is named after dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and has been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with his will.

Last year's laureate in the peace category was Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts to end a decades-long conflict with the FARC guerrillas.

Thierry Coville, Iran specialist at Novancia Business School in Paris, discusses ICAN Nobel win


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