February 20, 2018

Overview: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

08 October 2017, 12:30 | Rufus Hill

Applauding the Nobel committee — while remaining skeptical that nukes can ever be abolished

Are Nuclear Weapons Illegal? Yes, but It Doesn't Matter

The Australian founders of an global group that was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize are chuffed their work on abolishing nuclear weapons has been recognised.

"The spectre of nuclear conflict looms large once more", the organization said.

"Unfortunately, we are seeing a deterioration in the overall security environment and growing nuclear capabilities of certain states", a State Department official said, speaking anonymously in keeping with administration guidelines.

The group, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a Geneva-based coalition of disarmament activists, was honored for its efforts to advance the negotiations that led to the treaty, which was reached in July at the United Nations.

President Donald Trump, who has mocked Kim by calling him "Little Rocket Man", has said he would have no choice but to "totally destroy" North Korea if the United States or its allies are attacked. "The nuclear weapons are stationed in Germany and key to maintaining nuclear balance", said Marcel Dirsus, a political scientist at the University of Kiel in Germany.

If this weren't enough, US President Donald Trump is expected next week to withdraw his endorsement of the Iran nuclear deal. Photo: GettyHow did ICAN win a Nobel Peace Prize? "All of us need to join forces, think hard and walk forward together to turn this momentum into something even bigger", he said. "For the treaty to be further signed and above all ratified", United Nations spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told reporters in Geneva, reacting to the honour given to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. That is why we must put an end to Iran's continued aggression and nuclear ambitions.

ICAN started in Australia but was officially launched in Vienna, Austria in 2007.

The Nobel committee recognized the group's work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.... and its efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition on them.

A decade ago, the anti-nuclear movement was fragmented, Fihn said, explaining that ICAN was created to help a vast array of groups push for a ban similar to the global agreements forbidding the use of biological and chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions. And yet, the organization's track record also indicates how long the path toward a nuclear weapons-free world will be.

ICAN's network co-ordinator Daniel Hogsta said the Nobel Prize recognised those who have fought tirelessly for disarmament. "If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons, that moment is now".

But as the science and implications of nuclear weapons started to be better understood - nearly immediately from the time they were first used - efforts to regulate the use of them increased, and so did the Nobel Prizes on the other side. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would remain a nuclear alliance as long as nuclear weapons existed, according to Stoltenberg.

The nuclear powers oppose the treaty, which goes well beyond existing nonproliferation agreements, arguing they alone should have the weapons in order to support stability in the world.

Anti-nuclear campaigners say they recognize the challenge of persuading nuclear powers to agree to give up their weapons.

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