PRESS RELEASE: Nobel Peace Prize—as nuclear tensions rise, feminist antinuclear campaigners provide alternatives worth listening to

December 8, 2017

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is one of the partner organisations of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) taking part in the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony this weekend. ICAN was awarded the Prize for highlighting the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and achieving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

WILPF, an international non-governmental organisation present in 39 countries, is a member of the ICAN international steering group and played a leading role in campaigning for the Treaty, which was adopted by 122 governments in July 2017.

WILPF disarmament programme director and ICAN steering committee representative Ray Acheson was instrumental in generating support from governments and international organisations for the Treaty, which outlaws the last weapons of mass destruction and establishes a clear pathway to their total elimination.

According to Acheson, the feminist movement has a long and distinguished track record in opposing nuclear weapons. “Since 1945 and the first nuclear weapon tests in New Mexico, women in particular have mobilised against these weapons, blocking bases and leading campaigns for their elimination,” she says. “The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN is a testament to the power of the feminist movement and collective action.”

With rising tensions and threats of nuclear war between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is needed more than ever before. None of the world’s nine nuclear-armed states participated in negotiations of the Treaty, but the value of this instrument lies in the economic, legal, political, and social implications it will have on nuclear doctrines and programmes even if they don’t sign on.

“We hope the Nobel Peace Prize will raise awareness about the Treaty and spur more countries to sign and come on board,” says Acheson. “The odds were stacked against us in developing this instrument, but through our united efforts, we showed that change is possible and that the flame of social justice is burning brightly.”

Download the Press Release as PDF: Nobel Peace Prize—as nuclear tensions rise, feminist antinuclear campaigners provide alternatives worth listening to

For more information please contact:

  • Ray Acheson, WILPF Disarmament Programme Director, tel: +1 917 442 5214 / email: ray@reachingcriticalwill.org (Ray is in Oslo from 8–13 December)
  • Allison Pytlak, WILPF Disarmament Programme Manager, tel: +1 212 682 1265 / email: allison@reachingcriticalwill.org

Editors Notes:

  • WILPF is the world’s oldest women’s peace organisation. It was set up in 1915 to unite women worldwide who oppose oppression and exploitation.
  • Two previous leaders have received the Nobel Peace Prize for their peace efforts: Jane Addams in 1931 and Emily Greene Balche in 1946.
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