This Sunday, December 10th the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) will formally receive the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. As a member of ICAN, Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) warmly congratulates it on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. ICAN have won the Nobel Peace Prize due to their dedication in calling for a nuclear weapons free world and in assisting with the international agreement for a Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty at the United Nations.
ICAN is a unique coalition of 468 groups in 101 countries, with a Steering Committee and a Secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland. (1) The UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) is a supporting partner of ICAN UK and proud to be a part of the international coalition working for a world free of nuclear weapons. NFLA also works closely with the Mayors for Peace, who are a strategic partner with ICAN, and are led by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
To celebrate this ceremony and show support for the work of ICAN, many NFLA members have signed an ICAN pledge to work for the signature and ratification of the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty amongst members states like the United Kingdom Government (who have said they do not support the Treaty) and the Republic of Ireland Government (who have signed and are in the process of ratifying the Treaty). (2) These include the Lord Provost of Glasgow and the Leader of Glasgow City Council, the Lord Mayor of Manchester and senior Manchester councillors and the NFLA Chair. (3)
There are over 14,000 nuclear weapons still in the world today. With real concerns over North Korea’s nuclear programme there is no more important time than now for having groups like ICAN, Mayors for Peace and NFLA working with the large majority of countries who have signed the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty, and seeking to actively persuade those who have not to reconsider. NFLA held a joint seminar on these matters last Friday in Manchester and will place the presentations from it shortly on its website. (4)
The work of Hiroshima and Nagasaki educate us all on the terrible and devastating effects of nuclear weapons. Today’s nuclear weapons are even far more destructive than the bombs of 1945. If a nuclear weapon was ever used again, either deliberately or accidentally, the humanitarian consequences could be harmful for millions, if not billions, of people.
NFLA hopes the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize can help in galvanising governments together to find peaceful solutions to the conflicts that bedevil so much of our troubled world.
NFLA Chair Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
“I am delighted that the NFLA is a part of the ICAN coalition that will receive the Nobel Peace Prize this Sunday. In my view it is richly deserved as the nuclear disarmament coalition have tirelessly worked for a nuclear weapons free world for many years. The change in strategy that has led to the development of the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty is a major achievement and now the challenge remains to get all states to support and ratify it. That includes our own government in the UK who steadfastly ignores the majority view of the world for nuclear disarmament, unlike the Irish Government who has superbly co-lead this process. Let Sunday’s ceremony be a part of the process which will mean we may never have another atomic weapon attack likely the ones that destroyed much of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 72 years ago.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) ICAN website – http://www.icanw.org
(2) The ICAN pledge, adapted for a local government audience –
“We, the undersigned Mayors, Provosts and Councillors, warmly welcome the adoption of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 7th July 2017 as a significant step towards the realization of a nuclear-weapon-free world.We share the deep concern expressed in the preamble about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons and we recognize the consequent need to eliminate these inhumane and abhorrent weapons. As Mayors, Provosts and Councillors, we pledge to work for the signature and ratification of this landmark treaty by our respective countries, as we consider the abolition of nuclear weapons to be a global public good of the highest order and an essential step to promote the security and well-being of all peoples.”
(3) Photographs of Mayors / Provosts / Leaders / Councillors signing the pledge will be placed on the NFLA website http://www.nuclearpolicy.info. Attached here is a photo courtesy of Glasgow City Council with the NFLA Steering Committee Vice Chair, Councillor Bill Butler, the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Councillor Eva Bolander and the Leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Susan Aitken.
(4) A link to the presentations from the Mayors for Peace Chapter / NFLA seminar held in Manchester will go on the NFLA website shortly.