GENEVA, Switzerland — The time to ban nuclear weapons “is now,” nuclear disarmament group ICAN said Friday, after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
“This is a time of great global tension, when fiery rhetoric could all too easily lead us, inexorably, to unspeakable horror,” the Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons said in a statement, which called the Nobel award “a great honor.”
“The spectre of nuclear conflict looms large once more. If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons, that moment is now.”
ICAN chief Beatrice Fihn told reporters that the group received a phone call about the Nobel win just before the award was announced.
“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, insisting that they can serve no legitimate purpose and must be forever banished from the face of our earth,” ICAN’s statement further said.
The group said the Nobel award was a “tribute” to the two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were attacked by American atomic bombs at the end of World War II.
As nuclear-fuelled tensions intensify between the US and its rivals in North Korea and Iran, ICAN also blasted some nations for clinging to their weapons in the name of security.
“The belief of some governments that nuclear weapons are a legitimate and essential source of security is not only misguided, but also dangerous, for it incites proliferation and undermines disarmament,” ICAN said.
“All nations should reject these weapons completely – before they are ever used again.”