The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, a global organization seeking to "outlaw and eliminate all nuclear weapons" under international law.
The prize was announced in Oslo, Norway, on Friday morning. The committee praised ICAN for drawing attention to "the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons" and for "ground-breaking efforts" to ratify a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
Specifically, ICAN promotes the U.N.'s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a legally binding prohibition on nuclear weapons that is supported by over 100 countries. The world's nuclear powers have not committed to the treaty.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee noted that any actual nuclear disarmament will depend on the participation of nuclear states, but praised ICAN's "inspiring and innovative support" for international negotiations.
The committee noted the peril that more countries will attempt to acquire nuclear weapons, "as exemplified North Korea." And the prize-winning organization highlighted growing international tension, writing on Facebook that "fiery rhetoric could all too easily lead us, inexorably, to unspeakable horror."
"The spectre of nuclear conflict looms large once more," the group wrote. "If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons, that moment is now." Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, objected to the idea that the prize was "symbolic" because states possessing nuclear weapons don't support ICAN's treaty banning them. "I do believe that law matters," she said.