Nuclear Disarmament Group ICAN Wins 2017 Nobel Peace Prize

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a coalition of NGOs from one hundred countries, won the prize

International campaign to abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) activists demonstrate in front of the US embassy in Berlin, September 13, 2017.
International campaign to abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) activists demonstrate in front of the US embassy in Berlin, September 13, 2017. Britta Pedersen/AP

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored the Geneva-based group "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."

The statement, read by committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen, said that "through its inspiring and innovative support for the U.N. negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, ICAN has played a major part in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress."

Asked by journalists whether the prize was essentially symbolic, given that no international measures against nuclear weapons have been reached, Reiss-Andersen said that "what will not have an impact is being passive."

The Nobel Peace Prize, worth nine million Swedish crowns ($1.10 million), will be presented in Oslo on Dec. 10.

The Norwegian committee that chooses the Nobel Peace Prize winner sorted through more than 300 nominations for this year's award, which recognizes both accomplishments and intentions.

The prize announcement comes Friday in the Norwegian capital Oslo, culminating a week in which Nobel laureates have been named in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee does not release names of those it considers for the prize, but said 215 individuals and 103 organizations were nominated.

Observers see the Syrian volunteer humanitarian organization White Helmets as a top contender, along with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini for shepherding the deal to curb Iran's nuclear program.