Berlin, 6 October 2017 - The Heinrich Böll Foundation Berlin is delighted to learn that its partner organisation ICAN has been awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize and extends its congratulations.
Ellen Ueberschär, President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, said: “We share the joy of our partners at ICAN and extend our congratulations with all our heart! Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to an international network is a powerful sign and, against the background of the most recent nuclear escalation, it stresses the importance of working towards political and diplomatic solutions. For a number of years, the Heinrich Böll Foundation has been supporting the young experts and activists at ICAN in order to strengthen their commitment for rational security policies and their efforts towards nuclear disarmament.”
With their persistent lobbying, and supported by the Foundation, members of ICAN from Germany and many other parts of the world have succeeded, over the last few years, to convince their respective governments of the need to sign a treaty that bans nuclear weapons worldwide. This July, at the United Nations, 122 countries adopted an international ban on nuclear weapons and, since 20 September, the treaty is open for signatures at the UN in New York.
With the backing of the Foundation, the young ICAN activists were able to attend a number of international conferences, managing to convince an initial number of 127 countries to adopt a voluntary humanitarian agreement banning nuclear weapons. This, in turn, lead to official negotiations over a ban that will be binding under international law. ICAN thus managed to initiate one of the most important efforts in recent history towards nuclear disarmament and became a recognised civil society actor in this sphere. The Foundation not only supported ICAN’s participation in conferences such as the Open Ended Working Group on nuclear disarmament in Geneva in 2016 and the UN negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons in July 2017, it also promoted numerous debates as well as training sessions for young ICAN activists from all parts of the world.
With its remarkable decision, the Nobel Committee has stressed the great importance of an unequivocal ban of nuclear weapons – ICAN’s central political goal – and that at a time when we are faced with more and more crises and a military build-up.
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