In a grand display of how not to be like former laureates President Obama or the EU, campaigners celebrated the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Nobel prize with gatherings in a dozen towns and cities across Britain — led by a London protest.
ICAN, founded in Australia in 2007, is a coalition of groups in over 100 countries which is currently aiming to push through the international Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which opened for signing this September. The treaty, originally adopted by the UN in December last year, is the first legally-binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons and has been backed by 122 countries — though not by the US, UK or France.
Photojournalist Peter Marshall reports:
The UK refused to take part in the treaty negotiations and is refusing to sign the treaty, but yesterday the protesters urged it to sign up and scrap Trident replacement. The event was organised by ICAN UK and two of ICAN’s partner organisations in the UK, CND and Medact.
It also included speakers from these and another ICAN partner, WILPF, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and a mock Nobel Prize was handed over by to ICAN UK by Bruce Kent, who also presented many small chocolate ‘Nobels’ to those at the event.
At today’s presentation ceremony in Oslo, ICAN executive director Beatrice Fihn warned that Trump and Kim Jong Un’s recent face-off has showed “the deaths of millions may be one tiny tantrum away … we have a choice, the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us.”
The £800,000 prize has been controversial for repeatedly honouring political power players with extremely patchy records. Last year’s winner Juan Manuel Santos for example was Colombian defence minister in 2006-2009, during which time the murderous “false positives” scandal of 2008 took place.
ICAN however has been widely praised as a strong choice, and was cited “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.”
Not everyone has been happy however, with major Western nations such as Australia facing censure for refusing to even congratulate the winners.