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Church leaders celebrate awarding of Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN

Nobel Peace Prize


Beatrice Fihn, ICAN executive director (right), and Setsuko Thurlow (centre), a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, receive the award at a ceremony at the Oslo City Hall on Sunday. PICTURE: Albin Hillert/World Council of Churches

Church leaders in Norway and around the world have celebrated the awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), presented at an official ceremony on Sunday.

Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches – a partner agency of ICAN, described the day as one which changed the agenda.

“The people who [make] peace applauded and they were applauded,” he said. “We in the WCC are proud of being their partner.”

Rev Dr Tveit said peace-making was “holy work”. “We are encouraged by the Nobel Peace Prize for ICAN. We need words that can make the world accountable to our call to make peace. We need this treaty as an expression of how it should be, before it is so.”

Speaking at the ceremony at the Olso City Hall, Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN – a coalition of more than 400 non-governmental organisations based in 100 countries., said the world had a choice between two endings: the end of nuclear weapons or the end of humanity.

“It is not naive to believe in the first choice. It is not irrational to think nuclear states can disarm. It is not idealistic to believe in life over fear and destruction; it is a necessity.”

Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing who also received the award on behalf of ICAN, said that nuclear weapons and humanity cannot co-exist.

“Every second of every day, nuclear weapons endanger everyone we love and everything we hold dear,” she said, adding that “we must not tolerate this insanity any longer”. “These weapons are not a necessary evil; they are the ultimate evil.”

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to 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”.

ICAN is credited as being at the forefront of efforts to establish a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which was adopted by 122 nations on 7th July and which opened for signatures on 20th September.

Following the ceremony on Sunday, thousands of people took part in a torchlight march in Oslo. Earlier, on Saturday, ICAN representatives joined with Christian leaders from Norway at Trinity Church for a prayer service.

~ with the World Council of Churches.



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