The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is thrilled that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has been awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of our role to achieve the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. WILPF, as an active member of the International Steering Group, worked as part of this movement to ban nuclear weapons, the most indiscriminate, inhumane and destructive explosive devices ever created that have catastrophic humanitarian, environmental, and economic effects.
“This treaty is a historic piece of international law, achieved despite the opposition of the most militarised and powerful countries in the world,” said Ray Acheson, director of WILPF’s disarmament programme Reaching Critical Will, which represents WILPF in ICAN. “It marks a turning point in the struggle against these genocidal weapons, in which the vast majority of governments and civil society have united to create law that can change policies and practices of nuclear deterrence and help facilitate nuclear disarmament.”
This Nobel Peace Prize is an acknowledgement of decades of campaigning against nuclear weapons. Since the first nuclear weapon tests in New Mexico in July 1945 to their horrific and inhumane use against citizens in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the thousands of tests around the world, activists have worked tirelessly to oppose the possession of these weapons on the basis their catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences. Women in particular have mobilised against these weapons, from blocking nuclear bases and convoys with their bodies to leading civil society advocacy including through ICAN.
The Treaty, adopted with the support of 122 countries on 7 July 2017, categorically outlaws the worst weapons of mass destruction and establishes a clear pathway to their total elimination.
WILPF is honored to have been part of the campaign of hibakusha, indigenous test survivors, and antinuclear activists from around the world. We have worked with our members, with partners and with governments to develop this treaty through activism, advocacy and diplomacy. Collaboration and trust between stakeholders, is essential to finding new ways forward.
WILPF will work in coming years for nuclear disarmament. We encourage all of you to join the movement. To embrace the ban as a necessary tool to ensuring our survival and a better future for all humanity. This can be a turning point in history when the world stands together against militarisation and power for our common humanity.