Anti-nuke group wins peace Nobel

OSLO/GENEVA: The Norwegian Nobel Committee, warning of a rising risk of nuclear war and the spread of weapons to North Korea, awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday to a little-known campaign group seeking a global ban on nuclear arms. The award for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was unexpected, particularly in a year when the architects of the 2015 nuclear deal between international powers and Iran had been seen as favourites for achieving the sort of diplomatic breakthrough that has won the prize in the past.
Still, supporters saw it as a potential breakthrough for a global movement that has fought to ban nuclear arms from the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945.
ICAN’s Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said the group was elated.
Asked if she had a message for North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who has tested nuclear arms in defiance of global pressure, and President Donald Trump, who has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea to protect the United States and its allies, she said both leaders need to know that the weapons are illegal.
“Nuclear weapons are illegal.Threatening to use nuclear weapons is illegal. Having nuclear weapons, possessing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear weapons, is illegal, and they need to stop.”
Two days before her group won the prize, Fihn tweeted that Trump was “a moron”. She said she had written this in the context of news reports at the time that US
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had used the same word to describe his boss.
ICAN describes itself as a coalition of grassroots non-government groups in more than 100 nations.
It began in Australia and was officially launched in Vienna in 2007.
The award was hailed by anti-nuclear campaigners around the world.
Mikiso Iwasa, an 88-year-old Hiroshima survivor, told Reuters the prize would help push the movement forward.
“It is wonderful we have this Nobel Peace-Prize winning movement. All of us need to join forces, think hard and walk forward together to turn this momentum into something even bigger,” he said.
ICAN has campaigned for a a UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted by 122 nations in July this year.
That agreement is not signed by the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, as well as India, Pakistan and North Korea.
Israel is also widely assumed to have nuclear weapons, although it neither confirms nor denies it.
Major allies of the declared nuclear powers also oppose the new treaty.
Nevertheless, campaigners see it as a framework that would make it easier for countries that have nuclear arms to work towards eliminating them.
The United Nations said the award would help bolster efforts to get enough of the countries that signed the new treat to ratify it so that it can come into force. — Reuters