December 11, 2017 – Yesterday Hiroshima hibakusha (nuclear survivor) Setsuko Thurlow and ICAN director Beatrice Fihn accepted the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) in the awards ceremony in Oslo.
ICAN was awarded the prize “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.”
In her acceptance speech, Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN, warned that mankind’s total destruction at the hands of nuclear weapons was just one “impulsive tantrum away.”
“Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us?” Fihn asked, referring to the ongoing exchange of threats between U.S. President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
“The only rational course of action is to cease living under the conditions where our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away,” she added.
“A moment of panic or carelessness, a misconstrued comment or bruised ego could easily lead us unavoidably to the destruction of entire cities.”
Fihn described nuclear weapons as a “madman’s gun held permanently to our temple.”
Hiroshima survivor at ceremony
Fihn was accompanied at the ceremony in Oslo City Hall by Setsuko Thurlow of Japan — a survivor of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Thurlow was 13 at the time of the bombing. For more than seven decades, she has campaigned against the bomb.and has campaigned on behalf of ICAN since its launch in 2007. She played a pivotal role in the United Nations negotiations that led to the adoption of the landmark treaty outlawing nuclear weapons in July.
Thurlow described the “procession of ghosts” she witnessed on the morning of Aug. 6, 1945. “The hair was standing up and they were all burned on the skin and their flesh was hanging from their bones,” she said. “Some were carrying their eyeballs. It just was like hell on earth,” added the 85-year-old, who now lives in Canada.
ICAN, which is comprised of a coalition of 468 non-governmental organizations from 101 different countries, has its headquarters in Geneva.
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Wins Nobel Peace Prize
Congratulations to our friends and colleagues around the world who are part of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). This morning, the Nobel Committee awarded ICAN the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize “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.”
ICAN is made up of over 400 groups in 100 countries. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has been an ICAN member since the campaign began a decade ago. This year, we were proud to work with ICAN and many dedicated non-nuclear countries to bring into existence the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Nobel Peace Prize is a recognition of many decades of campaigning by activists around the world. We still have a lot of work to do to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world, and we hope that this prestigious honor will encourage you to work even harder alongside us for this goal. But today, let’s take a moment to celebrate!