NFLA is delighted with the decision of the Nobel Committee to award the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize last Friday to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), for its work on nuclear disarmament and its role in the approval of the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty at the United Nations.
The Nobel Peace Prize 2017 was awarded to International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) “for 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”. (1)
NFLA was established almost 37 years ago with a similar remit to campaign for a nuclear weapons free world. This has seen it work closely with the Mayors for Peace, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and, over the past decade, with the UK branch and international secretariat of ICAN to find new solutions to break the stalemate that has existed with delivering a nuclear weapons free world.
ICAN was pivotal in co-ordinating the NGO support for discussions at four international UN conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. Out of this process, leading UN members like Austria, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Costa Rica, Mexico and Chile encouraged the development of a process by which the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty was supported by over 120 states (over two thirds of its members) at the United Nations in July. This treaty is expected to become fully ratified as international law in 2018.
While the nuclear weapons states, NATO members and ‘nuclear umbrella’ states like Japan and Australia remain steadfast in irrational opposition to the Treaty, the unique coalition that is ICAN has been instrumental in changing the parameters of the debate and encouraging new momentum for seeking nuclear disarmament. The challenge now remains to encourage some of this intransigent block of countries to move from their intransigence to realising new cuts to nuclear weapon stocks.
NFLA endorses the ICAN UK media release on the Nobel Peace award, and the comments made by Dr Rebecca Johnson, an original co-chair of ICAN and member of the International Steering Group, who said:
“We thank the Nobel Committee for recognising and honouring ICAN and the thousands of people in our international network that have worked so hard to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. The nuclear threats being issued by President Trump and North Korea remind us that nuclear sabre rattling can lead to nuclear war through arrogance or miscalculation. With British civil society at the forefront of nuclear disarmament efforts for so many years, this Nobel Award encourages us to redouble our efforts to persuade the British government to sign the UN Nuclear Prohibition Treaty, cancel Trident and take the lead to eliminate all of these abhorrent weapons of mass destruction.” (2)
As one of those groups, NFLA is delighted that the Nobel Committee have brought the issues of nuclear weapons and the need for disarmament to the world’s attention by awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN. This week, Manchester City Council will be formally commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Manchester based Mines Advisory Group being a co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for the work it did with the International Treaty to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions. ICAN have followed a similar trajectory and NFLA hopes that the ultimate goal of a nuclear weapons free world can now also be realised.
NFLA is proud to be a supporting partner organisation of ICAN UK and will continue to work with it, Mayors for Peace, CND and other groups committed to a nuclear weapons free world.
NFLA Steering Committee Chair Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
“NFLA is delighted to be part of the ICAN coalition that became a Nobel Peace Prize winner last Friday. The dedication of ICAN activists at the United Nations has been richly rewarded by the Nobel Committee and it shows that the value of the nuclear free movement over this past four decades in its tireless work for multilateral nuclear disarmament. With Mayors for Peace and other disarmament groups it gives us all inspiration to continue our campaign to encourage politicians of all UK political parties to join with their Irish counterparts and cancel Trident replacement, and move the UK into a full process of multilateral nuclear disarmament. I can now see this happening sooner than later, partially due to the work of ICAN worldwide.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) Nobelprize.org, ICAN receives Nobel Peace Prize 2017, 6th October 2017
(2) ICAN UK, Nobel Peace Prize statement, 6th October 2017
Nobel Peace Prize Statement – ICAN UK, October 6, 2017
ICAN UK represents the British-based NGOs who are partners of ICAN, a civil society network of over 450 organisations in one hundred countries, which today was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017.
Dr Rebecca Johnson, an original co-chair of ICAN and member of the International Steering Group based in the UK, said:
“We thank the Nobel Committee for recognising and honouring ICAN and the thousands of people in our international network that have worked so hard to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. The nuclear threats being issued by President Trump and North Korea remind us that nuclear sabre rattling can lead to nuclear war through arrogance or miscalculation. With British civil society at the forefront of nuclear disarmament efforts for so many years, this Nobel Award encourages us to redouble our efforts to persuade the British government to sign the UN Nuclear Prohibition Treaty, cancel Trident and take the lead to eliminate all of these abhorrent weapons of mass destruction.”
Professor David McCoy, physician and former director of Medact, an ICAN-UK partner, said:
“Nuclear weapons are an unacceptable threat to human health and global security – they have no place in the modern world. The UK government should be leading international efforts to get rid of nuclear weapons instead of boycotting them. Health professionals are calling on Government to scrap Trident and spend the money on the NHS.
Richard Moyes, Managing Director of UK NGO Article 36 – part of ICAN’s International Steering Group, said:
“The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize highlights the importance of this new treaty at a time when the threat of nuclear weapons is more pressing than ever in recent decades. ICAN focused attention on the humanitarian impact that the use of these weapons would cause – with just a single weapon threatening to kill and injure hundreds of thousands of people and to poison their environment for the future. Despite the politics of these weapons, the scale of humanitarian suffering that they can cause means they cannot be considered acceptable, and that is why ICAN here in the UK and internationally has worked for them to be banned.”
Kate Hudson of ICAN partner CND said “This Nobel Peace Prize commits all of us to bring the UK on board the historic UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and take the lead by scrapping Trident.”