Monday, 30 October 2017 04:47

ICAN Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Written by Beth Begley
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Beth Begley – New Jersey Chapter

The Nobel committee awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN—International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons 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.”

Our Maryknoll/Pax Christi International delegation in June when the treaty was passed at the UN. L-R Judy Coode,
Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, Beth Begley (NJ Chapter Affiliate), PCI UN rep;  Jonathan Frerichs, PCI Disarmament
Coordinator; Alice Kooij, PCI Policy Director; Jasmine Nazario Galace, PC Philippines, ICAN, Miriam College Manila;
Gerry Lee, Director MOGC; Marie Dennis, Co-President of PCI; and Mary Yelenick, PCI UN rep.

Maryknoll and Pax Christi International were integral members of the ICAN campaign to achieve the Nuclear Ban Treaty, and their efforts continue toward ratification in each signing nation and entry into force.

It had been very discouraging that our efforts brought so little awareness, especially here in the US.  Then we awoke on October 7th to the Nobel Peace Prize. As part of the campaign, my email has been happily flooded with congratulations and encouragement from our campaigners all over the world.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was opened for signatures on September 20th. There need to be 50 ratifications for it to enter into force. Three states have ratified to date—the Vatican was first. In spite of pressure from the US, we expect the treaty to be in effect within two years and to serve as a moral benchmark. (Editor: The US has not signed or ratified.)

Although the nuclear states try to discount this accomplishment, I see it as a part of a new expression of empowerment by the nonnuclear and less powerful states and by a new generation of activists working from the ground up and giving priority to reducing the humanitarian effects of war and violence. The Land Mine Treaty and the Treaty on Cluster Munitions were the first steps in this movement.

Note: To learn more about the negotiations at the United Nations to adopt a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons leading toward their total elimination, read Sister Elizabeth Zwareva, MM’s report in the July-August 2017 issue of NewsNotes at http://maryknollogc.org/article/un-nuclear-ban-treaty-negotiations.

 

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