Speed Reads


Anti-nuclear weapons group ICAN awarded 2017 Nobel Peace Prize

On Friday morning, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an international consortium of nongovernmental organizations, 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." In July, 122 United Nations member states signed on to a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons pushed by ICAN, which will be legally binding on signatories once 50 nations ratify it.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee noted that none of the nuclear powers signed the treaty, and said getting their buy-in was the next stage in the fight for global nuclear disarmament. In a news conference afterward, committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen waved off suggestions that awarding the peace prize to ICAN was a message to President Trump, saying it was encouragement for all nuclear-armed powers.

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee is aware that an international legal prohibition will not in itself eliminate a single nuclear weapon," it said in its press release, but five of the original nuclear powers have signed on to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1970, and that "will remain the primary international legal instrument for promoting nuclear disarmament and preventing the further spread of such weapons. ... 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 vigor."