Beatrice Fihn,the leader of the group that won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize today has urged nuclear nations to adopt a United Nations treaty banning atomic weapons in order to prevent “the end of us.”
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize by a committee that cited the spread of nuclear weapons and the growing risk of an atomic war.
ICAN is a coalition of 468 grassroots non-governmental groups that campaigned for a UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by 122 nations in July.
The treaty is not signed by and would not apply to any of the states that already have nuclear arms. Beatrice Fihn urged them to sign the agreement.
She said in her speech at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, “It provides a choice. A choice between the two endings: the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us.”
“The United States, choose freedom over fear. Russia, choose disarmament over destruction. Britain, choose the rule of law over oppression,” she added, before urging France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel to do the same.
Israel is widely assumed to have nuclear weapons, although it neither confirms nor denies it.
She added,”A moment of panic or carelessness, a misconstrued comment or bruised ego, could easily lead us unavoidably to the destruction of entire cities.A calculated military escalation could lead to the indiscriminate mass murder of civilians.”
Fihn delivered the Nobel lecture together with Setsuko Thurlow, an 85-year-old survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and now an ICAN campaigner.
Thurlow, now a Canadian who lives in Toronto, recalled on stage on Sunday some of her memories of the attack on Aug. 6, 1945.
She said,”Processions of ghostly figures shuffled by. Grotesquely wounded people, they were bleeding, burnt, blackened and swollen.”
She was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building about 1.8 kilometres from Ground Zero, she said. Most of her classmates, who were in the same room, were burned alive.