They Can and They Did: ICAN Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

nobel peace prize

ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, October 6. ICAN is an advocacy group that supports the first treaty to ban nuclear arms. Based in Geneva, its work centers around shedding light on the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons.

ICAN’s successful advancement of the treaty, reached in July at the United Nations, came at a time when nuclear warfare seems to be a foreboding subject.

Three United Nations member states, Guyana, Thailand and the Vatican, have formally ratified the treaty since September 20 and others are expected in the next year. Thus far least 53 member states have signed the treaty. Once 50 UN member states ratify the treaty officially, it will go into effect within 90 days. Who didn’t sign on the dotted line? Nuclear powers like the US, North Korea, and Russia.

This is a time of great global tension, when fiery rhetoric could all too easily lead us, inexorably, to unspeakable horror. The spectre of nuclear conflict looms large once more. If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons, that moment is now. – ICANw.org

This treaty prohibits the use, threat of use and testing of nuclear weapons. It also bans possession, production and development of nuclear weapons.

For countries with nuclear weapons already, the treaty outlines a detailed procedure for destroying the existing nuclear weapons. Some say this will help lessen the likelihood of nuclear conflict, while others say it could increase tensions between nuclear powers.

In recent news, President Trump has called Kim Jong-un (supreme leader of North Korea, a holder of nuclear weapons) “Little Rocket Man.” Trump also claimed he would “totally destroy” North Korea if that country were to attack the United States or one of its allies. Meanwhile President Trump is expected to soon announce that he’s ‘decertifying’ the Iran nuclear deal. We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed (and congress does their job) this one doesn’t happen.

Ican nobel peace prize

ICAN won the Nobel Peace Prize a year after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won it for his efforts to conclude over 50 years of conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, a rebel group that spurred the longest running war in the Americas.

ICAN has supporters range from Michael Douglas to the Dalai Lama. However, in the eyes of those at ICAN, there is more work to be done. They have goals to get the Australian government behind them and to minimize the nuclear threats between countries.

An organization with big plans in mind won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday and they mean business.