Nobel Peace Prize winner strong anti-nuke advocate
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons won the Nobel Peace Prize Friday "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."
Here are some questions and answers about ICAN and its achievements:
WHAT IS ICAN?
Headquartered in Geneva, ICAN is an international non-governmental coalition aiming to promote implementation and adherence of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Founded in 2007 and comprised of 468 partner organizations in 100 countries, ICAN focuses on the threat to humanity posed by nuclear arms.
The group International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize, created ICAN in 2006, formally launching it a year later.
WHAT HAS IT DONE — AND WHAT DOES IT HOPE TO DO?
ICAN works on building global support for the abolition of nuclear weapons. While that goal is far off, it campaigned actively for the treaty creating the framework for that result — the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted by the United Nations on July 7. In previous years, it supported a U.N. committee resolution to launch negotiations on the treaty and preparations leading up to these talks.
It also organized events globally in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. Then-U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised ICAN in 2012 for "working with such commitment and creativity in pursuit of our shared goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world."
WILL THE NUCLEAR TREATY ABOLISH ATOMIC ARMS?
The treaty is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the goal of leading toward their total elimination. But achieving that lofty goal is elusive. It only comes into force after ratification by at least 50 nations and as of now, only three have done so. Additionally, it faces opposition by all nuclear weapons states as well as many countries which believe that they are best protected by the nuclear capacities of their allies.
Still, the Nobel is heartening ICAN officials and others working toward elimination of such arms. ICAN director Beatrice Fihn says the award "sends a message to all nuclear-armed states and all states that continue to rely on nuclear weapons for security that it is unacceptable behavior."