After three denials, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) after three unsuccessful expectations in the last three years.
The committee will award ICAN 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. More than that the upcoming threat of use of a nuclear bomb by North Korea has forced the panel to see the reason to vouch for nuclear peace.
“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,” saaid the Nobel committee.
Through its work, ICAN has helped to fill a legal gap heralding the rationale for prohibiting nuclear weapons. ICAN is a coalition of NGOs from around 100 different countries pledging to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. To date, 108 states have signed the commitment, known as the Humanitarian Pledge.
ICAN has been spearheading a prohibition of nuclear weapons under international law. On 7 July 2017, 122 of the UN member states acceded to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and ratified by 50 states. The nuclear ban will become effective and binding under international law for all the countries that are party to the treaty.
“This year’s Peace Prize is therefore 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,” it said.
With this year’s award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to pay tribute to ICAN for giving new momentum to the efforts to achieve this goal, said the citation.