NEW YORK - The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to an organization seeking to eliminate nuclear weapons through an international treaty-based prohibition.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday announced the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons as winner of the $1.1 million prize.
The Geneva-based organization ICAN "has been a driving force in prevailing upon the world's nations to pledge to cooperate ... in efforts to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons," committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said in the announcement.
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She noted that similar prohibitions have been reached on chemical and biological weapons, land mines and cluster munitions.
"Nuclear weapons are even more destructive, but have not yet been made the object of a similar international legal prohibition," she said.
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Walsstrom said that giving the prize to ICAN was "well-deserved and timely."
Walsstrom said that the organization has been working hard since 2007 and "we know how serious the situation is around in the world."
Reiss-Andersen said "through its inspiring and innovative support for the U.N. negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, ICAN has played a major part in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress."
Asked by journalists whether the prize was essentially symbolic, given that no international measures against nuclear weapons have been reached, Reiss-Andersen said "What will not have an impact is being passive."