Trump presidency puts 'spotlight' on nuclear risk, says Nobel victor ICAN

Elias Hubbard
October 7, 2017

Making the announcement today the Norwegian Nobel Committee said that the award is for ICAN's 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". "Nuclear weapons are illegal", she said. It also bans any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices - and the threat to use such weapons.

Nuclear weapons would also appear to violate the 1928 Kellog-Briand Pact, an worldwide agreement that prohibited war as an instrument of national policy, stating that war could not be used to settle "disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them". She noted that many powers have committed to a nonproliferation treaty, albeit not the ban treaty, and therefore "have already have committed to themselves to the goal of a nuclear-free world".

This year's Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to ICAN as an entire organization, comes with 9 million Swedish krona in cash, or around $1.1 million.

"This is not some abstract thing we need to think about like some B-movie plot", Helfand said, noting that even a "limited" exchange of nuclear weapons could lead to global starvation.

"At the same time, the award implicitly acknowledges that the continuing existence of nuclear weapons poses a grave threat to life on earth as we know it".

The US leader has threatened to bin the Iran nuclear agreement altogether, saying Tehran is developing missiles that may be used to deliver a nuclear warhead when the deal's restrictions are lifted in 2025.

The prize "sends a message to all nuclear-armed states and all states that continue to rely on nuclear weapons for security that it is unacceptable behaviour".

Trump has fanned concerns about nuclear conflict, with threats against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over the secretive regime's tests, missile launches over Japan, and warnings that the USA territory of Guam could be next in the firing line.

The prize committee wanted "to send a signal to North Korea and the US that they need to go into negotiations", Oeivind Stenersen, a historian of the peace prize, told The Associated Press.

Two days before her organization won the Nobel Peace Prize, Beatrice Fihn, sent a tweet that turned awkward: "Donald Trump is a moron".

With headquarters in Geneva, ICAN now has 468 partner organisations in over 100 countries, including the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. "We realized that all we do is give, and that's not healthy. This treaty will not make the world more peaceful, will not result in the elimination of a single nuclear weapon, and will not enhance any state's security", it said. But British opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn - a long-time disarmament campaigner whose photo hangs in ICAN's Geneva office - congratulated the group.

"A global ban on nuclear weapons is long overdue", the organisation says on its website. "This treaty is a strong categorical prohibition of nuclear weapons and is really rooted in humanitarian law", said Beatrice Fihn, adding that though no one expected nuclear-armed nations to comply, it "provides a path" for them to do so in the future.

Keaten reported from Geneva.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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