In a ceremony held in Oslo on Sunday, the Nobel Committee awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN. Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN and Setsuko Thurlow, ICAN campaigner and a survivor of Hiroshima accepted on behalf of the coalition.
Although honored and excited by the award, in her acceptance Fihn mirrored the gravity of ICAN's goals and issued a stern message about the dangerous reality of nuclear weapons in a world where their use is threatened more every day.
So proud and amazed at the same time seeing ICAN win the Nobel peace prize! Setsuko Thurlow gave what will be a speech remembered for years and talked. The speech that saved life on earth. Pure light in a dark time.— FILM432 (@film432) December 11, 2017
Fihn repeatedly alluded to the growing nuclear tensions between the United States and North Korea, and individually between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un, warning that nuclear destruction could be one “impulsive tantrum away.”
Nuclear weapons and climate change could be the end of us but I don't see those with the power to avoid that destruction taking it very seriously. At least, not in the U.S.— Claire McDaniel (@cmac324) December 10, 2017
“A moment of panic or carelessness, a misconstrued comment or bruised ego could easily lead us unavoidably to the destruction of entire cities.”
Fihn and ICAN believe that the only way to avoid nuclear weapons ever being used again is to banish them entirely.
“The only rational course of action is to cease living under the conditions where our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away,” Fihn said, calling nuclear weapons a “madman’s gun held permanently to our temple.”
ICAN consists of 486 non-governmental organizations in 101 countries. The coalition spearheaded a treaty banning nuclear weapons that has so far been signed by 56 countries, but so far has only been ratified by 3. Once ratified by 50 countries the treaty would become international law.
Nobel committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen spoke before the award presentation saying "irresponsible leaders can come to power in any nuclear state."
According to Fihn the international threat of a nuclear weapon being launched is "greater today than in the Cold War."