UK

Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Winner Announced As International Campaign To Abolish Nuclear Weapons

The Nobel committee singled out North Korea as posing a specific threat.

06/10/2017 10:02 BST | Updated 06/10/2017 10:44 BST

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017, it was announced at the Norwegian Institute in Oslo on Friday morning. 

The Nobel committee warned of the heightened risk of nuclear conflict, singling out North Korea as posing a specific threat and praised ICAN as a driving force in calling on the world’s nations to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. 

“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.  

Reuters
Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, announces the laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize 2017

She added: “Some states are modernising their nuclear arsenals, and there is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea. Nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth.” 

In recent weeks, North Korea has launched two missiles over Japan and conducted its sixth nuclear test, and may be fast advancing toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland.

ICAN is a coalition of non-governmental organisations from 108 countries around the globe, promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty. It began in Australia and was officially launched in Vienna in 2007. 

BRITTA PEDERSEN via Getty Images
ICAN activists wear masks of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un while posing with a mock missile in front of the embassy of Democratic People's Republic of Korea in Berlin, in September 

ICAN executive director Beatrice Fihn said she was “delighted” to have been awarded the prize. 

A statement from ICAN added: “This prize is a tribute to the tireless efforts of many millions of campaigners and concerned citizens worldwide who, ever since the dawn of the atomic age, have loudly protested nuclear weapons, insisting that they can serve no legitimate purpose and must be forever banished from the face of our earth.”

In July, 122 nations adopted a UN 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.

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.

FABRICE COFFRINI via Getty Images
Delighted: ICAN executive director Beatrice Fihn 

US 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.

The prize, worth $1.10m, will be presented on 10 December.

It is is named after dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and has been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with his will.