The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has been awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, a nod to its efforts against atomic annihilation and a slap at countries like the United States that have been bulking up their arsenals.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced its decision Friday morning, saying that the organization had worked to guard against “the unacceptable human suffering that nuclear weapons will cause.”
“There is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons as exemplified by North Korea,” committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen said, adding that “there is a popular belief all over the world that the world has become more dangerous and we experience that the threat of nuclear conflict has come closer.”
While the prize came with praise for ICAN, it also included a rebuke for nations with nuclear weapons such as the United States and Russia, who have not signed on to the international Humanitarian Pledge to work towards a nuclear-free world.
In July more than 120 countries voted in support of the agreement.
Reiss-Andersen denied that the prize was a slight against President Trump, who has touted the U.S.’s nuclear strength, and said it was an “encouragement.”
“We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time,” she said. “Some states are modernizing their nuclear arsenals, and there is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea.”
ICAN director Beatrice Fihn told reporters who asked about Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s war of atomically charged words that she had a message for both: “Nuclear weapons are illegal.”
“I think that the election of President Donald Trump has made a lot of people feel very uncomfortable with the fact that he alone can authorize the use of nuclear weapons and there’s nothing people can do to stop him,” she said.
In a statement, the State Department said prize announcement “does not change the U.S. position on the treaty: the United States does not support and will not sign the ‘Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.’”
With News Wire Services.
Send a Letter to the Editor