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Nobel Peace Prize awarded to anti-nuclear weapons group

By IANS Updated: Oct 07, 2017 12:04 am
Nuclear disarmament group ICAN coordinator Daniel Hogstan, executive director Beatrice Fihn, and her husband Will Fihn Ramsay pose with a banner bearing the group’s logo after ICAN won the Nobel Peace Prize on October 6, 2017, in Geneva.

Oslo, Oct. 6 (IANS): The Nobel Peace Prize was on Friday awarded to the Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an official announcement said.
The chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, said the award had been made in recognition of the group’s 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 modernising their nuclear arsenals, and there is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea,” Reiss-Andersen said.
She called on the nuclear-armed states to initiate negotiations to gradually eliminate the weapons.
ICAN, a coalition of non-governmental organisations in 100 countries dedicated to achieving a prohibition of nuclear weapons, said the “award shines a needed light on the path the ban treaty provides towards a world free of nuclear weapons”.
The organisation said that it was a “great honour” to be recognised for its role as a driving force behind the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted on July 7 with the support of 122 nations.
The treaty prohibits a catalogue of nuclear weapon-related activity, including undertaking development, testing, production, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing or stockpiling nuclear weapons.
The US, UK, France, Russia and China — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, all of whom possess nuclear weapons — did not participate in the negotiation of the treaty.
“The belief of some governments that nuclear weapons are a legitimate and essential source of security is not only misguided, but also dangerous, for it incites proliferation and undermines disarmament,” ICAN said in a statement.
“All nations should reject these weapons completely — before they are ever used again.
“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,” it added.
The organisation will receive 9 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million) along with a medal and a diploma during a ceremony in December in Oslo.
The committee that chooses the Nobel Peace Prize winner sorted through over 300 nominations for this year’s award, which recognises both accomplishments and intentions.
The prize announcement came Friday in the Norwegian capital Oslo, culminating a week in which Nobel laureates have been named in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature.

Japan A-bomb survivors hail ICAN Nobel Peace Prize win

Survivors of the World War II atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki today congratulated ICAN on winning this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, vowing to work together with the disarmament group to achieve a nuclear-free world.
“I’m delighted that ICAN, which has taken action to abolish nuclear weapons like us, won the Nobel Peace Prize,” Sunao Tsuboi, who suffered serious burns in the blast and subsequently developed cancer, said in a statement, according to public broadcaster NHK.
“I want to offer my warmest congratulations,” said the long-time Hiroshima campaigner for nuclear disarmament.
“Together with ICAN and many other people, we ‘Hibakusha’ will continue to seek a world without nuclear weapons as long as our lives last,” the 92-year-old said.
Tsuboi was among a handful of Hiroshima survivors who met then US president Barack Obama during his historic visit to the city last year.
“We want to take great delight as it helped build up a treaty banning nuclear weapons,” Shigemitsu Tanaka, a Nagasaki survivor, told reporters.
“We want to work together so that the nuclear disarmament treaty can be signed as soon as possible,” said Tanaka, head of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Council.
Ageing survivors of the atomic bombing of the two Japanese cities have long spearheaded an anti-nuclear campaign, visiting the UN and other international conferences to narrate the horror of the tragedies.
On August 6, 1945 the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the southern Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing 140,000 people, according to estimates.
Three days later, a second bomb devastated Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people. Japan surrendered shortly afterwards, bringing World War II to an end.

By IANS Updated: Oct 07, 2017 12:04:31 am