International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017. The announcement was made in Oslo, Norway on Friday. ICAN is a coalition of non-governmental organizations from around 100 different countries around the globe. “The organization 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,” a statement from the Nobel Prize Committee said.
“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 added.
Highlighting the risk of nuclear weapons in the present day scenario, the statement by the Committee said, “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 modernizing their nuclear arsenals, and there is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea.”
Saying nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth, the statement released by the committee said, “Through binding international agreements, the international community has previously adopted prohibitions against land mines, cluster munitions and biological and chemical weapons. Nuclear weapons are even more destructive, but have not yet been made the object of a similar international legal prohibition.”
“The 2017 Peace Prize calls upon nuclear-armed states to initiate negotiations to gradual elimination of the world’s 15,000 nuclear weapons,” the Committee said.
“It is the firm conviction of the Norwegian Nobel Committee that ICAN, more than anyone else, has in the past year given the efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons a new direction and new vigour,” the Committee added.
The Committee said the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons had a solid grounding in Alfred Nobel’s will. “The will specifies three different criteria for awarding the Peace Prize: the promotion of fraternity between nations, the advancement of disarmament and arms control and the holding and promotion of peace congresses,” the Committee said.
“ICAN works vigorously to achieve nuclear disarmament. ICAN and a majority of UN member states have contributed to fraternity between nations by supporting the Humanitarian Pledge. And 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,” the Committee stated.
The first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in the year 1901. This year, a five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee selected the laureates from 318 candidates.
In 2016, Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Peace Prize “for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end”. Martin Luther King Jr., Malala Yousafzai, Mother Teresa, Kailash Satyarthi and Nelson Mandela are some of those awarded with the prestigious prize.
Since its inception in 1901, 97 Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded to 130 Laureates until 2016. Of these, 16 have been women. Sixty six Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded to one Laureate only.