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Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons Wins Nobel Peace Prize

RFE/RL October 06, 2017

The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

The Norwegian Nobel Committee made the announcement in Oslo on October 6.

ICAN won 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" committee president Berit Reiss-Andersen said.

The Geneva-based ICAN, a global civil-society coalition, was launched in 2007 and numbers a total of 468 partner organizations in 101 countries.

"It is a great honor 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 on October 6.

ICAN has been relentlessly sounding the alarm over the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and campaigning for a global ban. It won a significant but mainly symbolic victory in July when the United Nations adopted the treaty -- the first legally-binding international accord to prohibit nuclear weapons.

The treaty, which has been signed by 53 states, will come into force if it ratified by at least 50 UN members. But its effects are likely to be severely limited because none of the existing nuclear powers -- including the United States and Russia -- currently plans to sign it.

The award comes amid global tensions over North Korea's nuclear program and missile tests and the exchange of threatening rhetoric between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, who has not ruled out the use of force to ensure security in the face of actions by Pyongyang that have violated UN resolutions.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev praised the Nobel committee for what he called "the right decision" and said: "We must constantly remind people what nuclear weapons are and work toward their liquidation."

"A world without nuclear weapons -- there can be no other goal," Gorbachev, who along with U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed the first U.S.-Soviet pact to reduce the Cold War foes' nuclear arsenals, in 1987, said in a statement.

Some observers had predicted the prize could go to key figures behind the 2015 deal between Iran and global powers in which Tehran agreed to curtail its nuclear activities in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

ICAN will receive the prize and a check for 9 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million), at a ceremony in Oslo on December 10.

Source: -ban-nuclear-weapons/28777359.html

Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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