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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, October 20, 2017

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Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Anti-Nuclear Weapons Group

Anti-nuclear campaign ICAN

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OSLO, NORWAY - The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, as the Norwegian Nobel Committee warned that the risk of a nuclear conflict is greater than for a long time.

"As you can imagine we are elated, this is great news," Daniela Varano, a spokeswoman for ICAN, told Reuters. "It's great recognition for the work that the campaigners did throughout the years and especially the Hibakusha," she said, referring to survivors of atom bombs in Japan.

ICAN describes itself as a coalition of grassroots nongovernment groups in more than 100 nations. It began in Australia and was officially launched in Vienna in 2007.

"We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time," said Berit Reiss-Andersen, the leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

In July, 122 nations adopted a U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, but nuclear-armed states including the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France stayed out of the talks.

Asked by journalists whether the prize was essentially symbolic, given that no international measures against nuclear weapons have been reached, Reiss-Andersen said that "what will not have an impact is being passive."

The Nobel Prize seeks to bolster the case of disarmament amid nuclear tensions between the United States and North Korea and uncertainty over the fate of a 2015 deal between Iran and major powers to limit Tehran's nuclear program.

U.S. President Donald Trump has called the Iran agreement the "worst deal ever negotiated" and a senior administration official said on Thursday that Trump is expected to announce soon that he will decertify the landmark pact.> VOA

A coalition of more than 300 NGOs founded in Vienna in 2007 on the fringes of an international conference on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, ICAN has tirelessly mobilised campaigners and celebrities alike in its cause.

It was a key player in the adoption of a historic nuclear weapons ban treaty, signed by 122 countries in July. However, the accord was largely symbolic as none of the nine known world nuclear powers signed up to it.

The organisation will receive their prize, consisting of a gold medal, a diploma, and a cheque for nine million Swedish kronor (R15.1 million/$1.1 million), at a ceremony in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the death in 1896 of the prize's creator, Swedish philanthropist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel.

 

 

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