2017 Nobel Peace Prize: What is ICAN?

2017 Nobel Peace Prize: What is ICAN?
From Al Jazeera - December 7, 2017

The Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) will be awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on December 10.

ICAN has been at the forefront of pushing for an end to the use of nuclear weapons through the United NationsTreaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,which has 50 signatories including Brazil, South Africa and Vietnam to date.

The Nobel committee cited ICAN's efforts "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition on such weapons", in an announcement in Oslo, Nowary on October 6.

ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn told reportersthat given the current political atmosphere around the world, the call to ban nuclear weapons is more imperative.

"The treaty is meant to make it harder to justify nuclear weapons, to make it uncomfortable for states to continue the status quo, to put more pressure on them," she said.

Here are some things to know about the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize:

Banning nukes

In a landmark resolution, 123 countries voted to start talks on a "legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons" in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly in October 2016.

In July, a UN conference adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

It is the "first multilateral legally-binding instrument for nuclear disarmament to have been negotiated in 20 years", theUNsaid in a statement.

The treaty opened for signature during the annual UN General Assembly last month.

As of September 20, 50 states hadsigned the treaty, which bans the use, development, testing or storing of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.

However, some of the top nuclear powers have yet to sign on to the pact, including the United States, Russia and China.

Significantly, Iran, which has been accused by the US President Donald Trump of pursuing a nuclear programme, has signed the treaty.

Strength in numbers

Before the Nobel committee's announcement, ICAN was a little-known organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Originally founded in Australia in 2007, ICAN has now become a global coalition of 468 non-government organisations spread over 100 countries.

International partners include peace organisations to humanitarian and environmental groups.

Among its coalition partners are The Ceasefire Campaign in South Africa and the Africa Peace Forum in Kenya.

Physicians for Social Responsibility in Bangladesh is also a partner, as well as the Arab Network for Research on Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War.

The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 6, 2017

Its roots

Call for global responsibility

Antnio Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 6, 2017
Irina Bokova (@IrinaBokova) October 6, 2017



Continue reading at Al Jazeera »