IALANA – the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms – congratulates ICAN – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – on the award of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
ICAN well deserves the prize for its creative and determined work to highlight the humanitarian consequences of nuclear explosions and to catalyze the negotiation and adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. ICAN has 468 partner organizations in 101 countries. IALANA is proud to be among them, and also to have made contributions to the negotiations. The Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision honors the role of civil society in the struggle for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
As ICAN graciously said, “This prize is a tribute to the tireless efforts of many millions of campaigners and concerned citizens worldwide who, ever since the dawn of the atomic age, have loudly protested nuclear weapons, [and] also to the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the hibakusha – and victims of nuclear test explosions around the world, whose searing testimonies and unstinting advocacy were instrumental in securing this landmark agreement.”
Already 53 countries have signed the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty, which will enter into force when 50 countries have both signed and ratified it. The Nobel Committee’s decision will give further momentum to this process.
The treaty is a powerful and eloquent statement, grounded in an understanding of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear explosions, of the political, moral, and legal standards enjoining non-use and elimination of nuclear arms and of the need to redress the damage wrought by the nuclear age to people and the environment.
The treaty recognizes and reinforces the existing illegality of using and threatening to use nuclear weapons as a matter of universal law rooted in international humanitarian law, the UN Charter, and principles of humanity and dictates of public conscience. That law applies to all states, whether or not they join the treaty.
The treaty also recognizes and reinforces the existing legal obligation resting on all states to abolish nuclear arms through good-faith negotiations. IALANA joins with the Nobel Committee in calling upon the nuclear-armed states to initiate serious negotiations to that end.