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Deserved recognition

Oct 09,2017 - Last updated at Oct 09,2017

The Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its “groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty prohibition” on nuclear weapons.

That this coalition of hundreds of NGOs, which was founded 10 years ago, should be given recognition for its work now is telling.

The exchange, in recent weeks, between Washington and Pyongyang, due to the latter’s launching of rockets and nuclear test, which made the former threaten to “totally destroy” North Korea, has made the danger of nuclear weapons come to the fore.

Under pressure from Ican, 122 countries lent their support in July to a UN treaty intended to ban and eventually totally eliminate nuclear weapons; not one of the nine known world nuclear countries endorsed the treaty.

The prize, said the Executive Director of the group Beatrice Fihn, is “a huge signal” that Ican’s effort is “needed and appreciated”.

It should also be seen, as indicated by the Nobel prize citation, as an indictment of North Korea’s nuclear activity: “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 bombs were used for the first, and only, time by the US in 1945, when it bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The devastation visited upon these two Japanese cities should forever be etched in our collective memory.

Nuclear bombs are a power mankind cannot control, and it should not take lightly or use to threaten any nation.

The war of words between the US and North Korean presidents makes the issue and the danger of nuclear weapons real.

“The laws of war say that we can’t target civilians. Nuclear weapons are meant to target civilians; they’re meant to wipe out entire cities. That’s unacceptable and nuclear weapons no longer get an excuse,” said Fihn.

With North Korea hard at work to develop its nuclear programme, the nuclear deal with Iran precarious, the hundreds of such weapons in the arsenals of the US, Russia, China, the UK, France, India, Pakistan and Israel, it seems humanity is playing with its fate.

Not to mention the price tag for maintaining such weapons, which runs into billions of dollars.

Ican, founded in 2007 on the sidelines of the international conference on Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, works to raise awareness about the issue and pressure governments to come up with a new treaty that would seek an outright ban on nuclear weapons.

As Fihn says, “as long as they [nuclear weapons] exist, the risk will always be there and eventually our luck will run out”.

Ican’s objective might appear too ambitious for the time being, given the hostility and opposition of the nuclear countries, but the international community owes it appreciation and gratitude for its denuclearisation campaign and for drawing attention to the danger nuclear weapons pose.

 

The Nobel Peace Prize is a well-deserved recognition of its noble humanitarian aspiration.

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Comments

THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF GOOD DEED AND AN EXAMPLE OF HOW THE WORLD SHOULD AND MUST FUNCTION. I HOPE THAT THE NUKE CLUBS OF DEATH AND DESTRUCTION CAN BORROW A CHAPTER FROM THIS AWARD.

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