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Nobel Peace Prize 2017: All You Need to Know about the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Apparently, the amount of nuclear weapons that are present on earth is sufficient to destroy our civilization many times over.

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International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has been awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to get nuclear weapons banned from the world. ICAN began in 2007 and is run through 468 partner organisations in 101 countries.

Apparently, the nuclear weapons that are currently present on Earth are sufficient to destroy our civilization many times over. The world has been sitting with a loaded gun to its temple ever since the first nuclear weapon was developed in the 1940’s. Just recently, the world commemorated the anniversary of a near-nuclear holocaust.

On 26 September 1983, just three weeks after the Soviet military had shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, Petrov was the duty officer at the command centre for the Oko nuclear early-warning system when the system reported that a missile had been launched from the United States, followed by up to five more.

Petrov judged the reports to be a false alarm, and his decision is credited with having prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and it’s NATO allies that could have resulted in large-scale nuclear war.

An investigation later confirmed that the Soviet satellite warning system had indeed malfunctioned. This just goes to show how close the world is to end itself.

Mushroom-shaped cloud and water column from the underwater nuclear explosion of July 25, 1946                        Representational image

And it is precisely such a moment that the ICAN hopes to avoid forever. Inspired by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) launched ICAN in Melbourne Australia on 23 April 2007. Incidentally, the IPPNW itself won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.

Here’s all you need to know about this organisation:

1. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, ICAN has been running an aggressive campaign to get the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons.

2. After a decade of work, ICAN achieved a major milestone in July 2017, when the UN adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty “prohibits the development, testing, production, manufacture, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, transfer, use, and threatened use of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”.

3. It is not enforced currently but will be enforced once 50 nations ratify it.

At the launch

4. ICAN describes itself as a coalition of grassroots non-government groups in more than 100 nations. It began in Australia and was officially launched in Vienna in 2007.

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