Accessibility links

Breaking News

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Warns Nuclear War A 'Tantrum Away'


Beatrice Fihn, the executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, in Oslo on December 9

The winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize -- the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) – has warned that the destruction of humankind is just one "impulsive tantrum away."

"The only rational course of action is to cease living under the conditions where our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away," ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said on December 10 after receiving the peace prize on behalf of the group at an award ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

"Will it be the end of nuclear weapons or will it be the end of us?" said Fihn, who was accompanied at the ceremony by Setsuko Thurlow, a Japanese woman and ICAN campaigner who survived the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Although a treaty eradicating nuclear weapons is far from ratification, Fihn said, "now, at long last, we have an unequivocal norm against nuclear weapons."

"This is the way forward. There is only one way to prevent the use of nuclear weapons -- prohibit and eliminate them," she said.

Her comments came as the United States and North Korea exchange angry threats that are backed by nuclear weapons.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have spiraled as Pyongyang has in recent months increased its nuclear and missile tests and U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered a military show of force.

Announcing this year's winner of the prestigious prize in October, the Norwegian Nobel Committee hailed ICAN's work to "draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons" and its "groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."

The Geneva-based ICAN was launched in 2007 and numbers a total of 468 partner organizations in 101 countries.

Recipients of the Nobel prizes for medicine, physics, chemistry, literature, and economics were receiving their awards at a December 10 ceremony in the Swedish capital, Stockholm.

Each prize is worth 9 million Swedish kronor or about $1.1 million.

The award ceremonies are traditionally held on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who endowed the prizes.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa
  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.