The 2017 Nobel peace prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
The Nobel committee said ICAN had been awarded the prize “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 of such weapons”.
The US and most of the other nuclear powers have opposed such a treaty.
Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, said in March this year: “There is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons. But we have to be realistic. Is there anyone who thinks that North Korea would ban nuclear weapons?”
The Nobel committee said: “We live in a world where the risk for nuclear weapons being used it greater than it has been for a long time”.
The award comes against a backdrop of heightening tensions between the US and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme. It also follows two years after the breakthrough deal struck by western powers with Iran on its nuclear programme.
Launched in 2007, ICAN is a described as a global civil society coalition. It comprises 468 partner organisations in 101 countries.
Supporters include Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and actors Michael Sheen and Michael Douglas. The ICAN and its partners were praised in 2012 by the-then Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon for “working with such commitment and creativity in pursuit of our shared goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world”.