Anti-nuclear weapons group ICAN win Nobel Peace Prize

The argument for and against nuclear weapons has raged for decades, especially in Britain. There are nine out of the 193 UN states that have nuclear weapons are currently activley maintaining them, keeping them ready for use at the push of a button.

They all agree that nuclear bombs are Weapons of Mass Destruction – the same WMD that the US and its allies used as their reason for invading Iraq – yet all nine act as if it's a good thing to hang onto them. Their rationale is that nuclear bombs act as a deterrent – as long as they have them, no-one will fire at them for fear of reciprocation. They ignore the danger of accidents and mistakes that exist for the whole world as long as these weapons exist 

If you have any doubts about the short and long -term effects that nuclear weapons would have on all of us if one were dropped anywhere, read here: no sane person would find them acceptable. 

In this impasse, ICAN have been working to grow the call to make nuclear weapons illegal. If those with power are blind to the consequences of their power, look lower and build the demand from those who are in the firing line. This tactic is becoming increasingly popular in the age of organisation. It’s the reason towns, regions and even institutions are building their own energy policies in the face of ongoing dependency on fossil fuels at national level.

After a review of the Non Proliferation Treaty (signed by 191 countries leading up to 2010), ICAN have acted as the civil society co-ordinators helping to change the narrative from a geopolitical to a humanitarian set of actions and consequences. In the course of convening three global conferences and two rounds of talks from 2013 to 2016, they got 123 nations to vote for negotiations on a treaty to make nuclear weapons illegal, leading to their total elimination.

As a result of their remarkable work a Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – was adopted in New York on 7th July, this year. Over fifty states signed the treaty on its first day at the UN. However, their work will not be done until that treaty is ratified and the nine nuclear states have signed.

The vital step in overcoming deterrent dependency is to be able to imagine a world without nuclear weapons. We asked Rebecca Johnson, Founding Co-Chair of ICAN an indefatigable activist for a nuclear weapons free world, what it might take to get over the next hurdle. 

 “ We have the legal treaty at last, and now we need to use it to sign up all countries to accelerate the elimination of existing arsenals and make sure they can never be used again.  In the UK we could really make a difference by signing the Treaty and cancelling Trident, which would show leadership, encourage others and make us all safer.  

ICAN wants people to use the Treaty and Nobel Peace Prize to change the debate and persuade reluctant governments to get on board.  Our next step is to encourage everyone to send this parliamentary pledge for the Treaty to their parliamentarians and ask them to sign. "

The Alternative UK's Co-initiators Pat and Indra worked with Rebecca and Compass campaign group to produce a video in the run up to the General Election in 2015, called Trident: Time to Move ON. Please share if you want to keep the pressure up.