STOCKHOLM – The Norwegian Nobel Committee, on Friday, has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The decision was made to acknowledge “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.”
In today’s world, the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than ever. With some states modernizing their nuclear weapons, there is a real danger that more countries will follow the foot steps and will try to procure nuclear weapons. These weapons of mass destruction pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth. International community has previously, through binding international agreements, adopted prohibitions against land mines, cluster munitions and bio-chemical weapons. However, Nuclear weapons, despite of being more destructive, have not yet been made the object of a similar international legal prohibition.
ICAN has helped to fill this legal gap. ICAN is a coalition of non-governmental organizations from around 100 different countries around the globe. 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.
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.