Nobel Peace Prize: Does an Australian-born anti-nuke group’s award achieve anything? ABC News By Europe correspondent James Glenday , 9 Dec 17 It has been dubbed an “ambassador boycott”, a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony snub.
When an Australian-born movement to ban nuclear weapons receives the world’s most prestigious award this weekend, Russia will be the only declared nuclear power with a top diplomat present.
Israel is sending an ambassador, though it does not confirm or deny it has nuclear warheads, while the US, the UK and France have chosen to make a statement — they will only be represented by deputies.
The prize winner, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), claims the “ambassador boycott” by western countries is aimed at undermining its work.
It has fought for a global treaty banning nuclear weapons, which now has 53 signatories.
But the document remains somewhat symbolic because no nuclear powers have signed it and neither have many of their close allies.
Australia, for example, has long argued banning the bomb outright — while emotionally appealing — will not lead to any meaningful reduction in nuclear weapons and may divert attention from existing treaties aimed at preventing nuclear proliferation.
Thus far, the Turnbull Government has stopped short of congratulating ICAN, which began in Melbourne……..
There has been controversy and contradictions surrounding the Nobel Peace Prize ever since it was founded by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish businessman who invented dynamite and traded arms……..
This year the award is worth 9 million Swedish kronor, more than $AU1.411 million. “That money helps a young NGO [like ICAN], one that doesn’t have much access to funds, one that is perhaps being denied funds because of some political problems,” Dr Lewis said.
“ICAN was founded in Australia. It’s something that Australians have achieved.”……..
ICAN is, of course, hoping the prize will convince more people to back its bomb ban.
But it also wants more public debate about the pace of nuclear disarmament — many nuclear experts agree things have moved too slowly, for too long.
“I would hope [ICAN’s work] generates some momentum within existing processes for disarmament,” Mr Dall said.
“If it doesn’t, then the long-term impact could be that nothing is going to happen and that really is the worst possible long-term impact.”
Regardless, the prize, the controversy and “ambassador boycott” is all invaluable for ICAN itself.
Anything that prompts more global coverage of nuclear weapons and the destruction they can unleash, is much more useful to it than any number of diplomatic niceties in Norway this weekend. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-09/does-the-nobel-peace-prize-achieve-anything/9242626
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