ICAN to accept Nobel Peace Prize

ICAN to accept Nobel Peace Prize

A group campaigning for a total ban on nuclear weapons received their Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday, the recognition coming at a time of stalled disarmament talks between nuclear powers and with North Korea's weapons ambitions a major global concern.

ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn, who accepted the prize along with Thurlow, said that while the treaty is far from ratification "now, at long last, we have an unequivocal norm against nuclear weapons".

"Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us?"

Members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, led by Executive Director Beatrice Fihn, received the prize at the ceremony in Oslo for their efforts that led to the adoption in July of the United Nations treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. "There is only one way to prevent the use of nuclear weapons - prohibit and eliminate them", Fihn said.

In an apparent snub of the ICAN-backed treaty, the three western nuclear powers - the US, France and Britain - broke with tradition by sending second-ranking diplomats rather than their ambassadors to Sunday's ceremony. It has exchanged warlike threats with Trump, who has ordered a military show of force.

But several survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings, which killed more than 220,000 people 72 years ago, will attend the event starting at 1:00 pm (1200 GMT) in the Oslo City Hall.

Setsuko Thurlow, who was 13 years old when the USA bomb devastated her Japanese city during the final weeks of World War II, spoke in Oslo, Norway as a leading activist with the Nobel-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

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"The risk for nuclear weapons use is even greater today than at the end of the Cold War".

"The world is getting ... a more risky place to live", said Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow who, alongside Fihn, is to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of ICAN.

Now an 85-year-old Canadian resident, Thurlow continues to campaign against weapons of mass destruction.

"The hair was standing up and they were all burned on the skin and their flesh was hanging from their bones", she said. "No human being should ever experience what we experienced".

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said in announcing the award in October that this year's prize is a call on nuclear weapon states and their closest allies "to initiate serious negotiations with a view to the gradual, balanced and carefully monitored elimination of the nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world".

Each prize consists of a diploma, a gold medal and a cheque for 9 million Swedish kroner (900,000 euros).

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