News Release

Nuclear Ban Treaty Group Gets Nobel


The Norwegian Nobel Committee “has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons. … Five of the states that currently have nuclear weapons – the USA, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China — have already committed to this objective through their accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1970.” See text and video. Also see IPA news release from last month: “More Than 40 Nations Sign Nuclear Ban Treaty in First Hour.

While many are already depicting this move as an anti-Trump pronouncement, the Obama administration was similarly opposed to the nuclear ban treaty. See 2013 IPA news release: “Obama’s Nuclear ‘Smoke and Mirrors,’” — also, “Obama at Nuclear Summit: A Call to Respect NPT, Not Pursue New Cold War,” and “Will Obama Renounce His $1 Trillion Nuclear Buildup?

ALICE SLATER, alicejslater at, @aliceslater
Slater is the New York Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and serves on the Coordinating Committee of World Beyond War. In July, she wrote the piece “Democracy Breaks Out at the UN as 122 Nations Vote to Ban the Bomb” for The Nation, which states: “Upon the adoption of the ban treaty, the United States, United Kingdom and France issued a statement that ‘We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it’ as it ‘does not address the security concerns that continue to make nuclear deterrence necessary’ and will create ‘even more divisions at a time … of growing threats, including those from the DPRK’s ongoing proliferation efforts.’ Ironically, North Korea was the only nuclear power to vote for the ban treaty, last October, when the UN’s First Committee for Disarmament forwarded a resolution for ban-treaty negotiations to the General Assembly.”

FREDRIK HEFFERMEHL, [in Norway] fredpax at
Heffermehl is with Nobel Peace Prize Watch and wrote the book The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted. He has frequently criticized the selection of Nobel Peace Prize winners who did not actually fit the criteria laid out by Alfred Nobel. This year however, before the award, the group stated: “ICAN will be a worthy laureate in keeping with Alfred Nobel´s testament.”

IRA HELFAND, MD, ihelfand at
Helfand is past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and is currently co-president of that group’s global federation, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. He was featured on an IPA news release in July: “122 Nations Vote to Outlaw Nuclear Weapons, U.S., Russia Collude Against Effort.”

Additional background: Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara told IPA in 2005: “The NPT was signed by a president. It was submitted to the Senate; it was ratified by the Senate. It is today the law of the land. The U.S. government is not adhering to Article VI of the NPT and we show no signs of planning to adhere to its requirements to move forward with the elimination — not reduction, but elimination — of nuclear weapons. That was the agreement, these other countries would not develop nuclear weapons and the nuclear powers would move to elimination. We are violating that.”