The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced this year’s winner of the 1.1 million-dollar Nobel Peace Prize. The committee decided to honour ICAN, which is the International Campaign to #Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Anti-nuclear campaign win Nobel Peace Prize

The announcement was made on Friday from Oslo, Norway by the president of the Nobel committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen.

During the announcement, Reiss-Andersen said that ICAN was receiving the award for their work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons. She also praised their efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition.

What is ICAN

ICAN started in Australia but was officially launched in Vienna, Austria in 2007.

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They are a coalition of non-governmental organisations spanning one hundred countries. Their website boasts over four hundred and fifty partners. Together, they promote adherence to and implementation of, the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty.

According to BBC News, ICAN’s executive director Beatrice Fihn told reporters from around the world, that the prize is sending a message to all nuclear-armed states. She said that relying on nuclear weapons for security is “unacceptable behaviour”. Fihn went on to say that we cannot make excuses for threatening indiscriminately to slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians in the name of security.

Threat of nuclear war

The award comes at a time when the threat of nuclear war is the highest it has been for decades. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has launched twenty-two missiles during rocket tests and nuclear tests this year, leading to an escalation of hostility between him and US #president donald trump.

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At the same time, Russia and the United States are modernising their already sizable missile programmes. According to the Federation of American Scientists, Russia currently has 7,000 warheads and the United States has 6,800. The United States and Russia control 93% of the world's nuclear warheads between them. France holds the third largest nuclear arsenal at a comparatively low 300, which represents just 2%.

If this weren’t enough, US President Donald Trump is expected next week to withdraw his endorsement of the Iran nuclear deal.

Beatrice Fihn said in an interview that the prize is sending a very strong message. She believes it is highly important that awareness is raised that the treaty on prohibition of nuclear weapons has declared that kind of behaviour illegal.