The committee said in its formal announcement of this year’s prize that its decision came at time when “the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time”.
It said some states were modernising their nuclear arsenals, and there was “a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea. Nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth.”
The international community has previously adopted binding prohibitions against land mines, cluster munitions and biological and chemical weapons, it said, but “nuclear weapons are even more destructive” and have not been outlawed.
ICAN has “helped to fill this legal gap”, describing it as “a driving force in prevailing upon the world’s nations to pledge to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons”.
It said it it wanted to “emphasise that the next steps must involve the nuclear-armed states. This year’s Peace Prize is therefore also a call upon these states to initiate serious negotiations with a view to the gradual, balanced and carefully monitored elimination of the almost 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world.”
It concluded: “It is the firm conviction of the Norwegian Nobel Committee that ICAN, more than anyone else, has in the past year given the efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons a new direction and new vigour.”