The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winner ICAN on the journey towards banning nuclear weapons

Nuclear weapons are back in the headlines, but that’s a good thing. We may have forgotten about the danger posed by them, but the truth is nuclear weapons and the danger posed by them – through accident, miscommunication, or by design – never disappeared. Trump, Russia, North Korea all seek to increase their status by wielding nuclear weapons with ever bigger missiles and bigger buttons. Shouldn’t it be illegal to threaten the murder of millions of innocent civilians? Yes it should. So the majority of the world’s nations came together to negotiate and adopt the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017. How did this happen? How did the silent majority, the global south, find its voice against the fierce resistance of the nuclear-armed and their allies, almost the entire Western world?

This talk is not about how scary nuclear weapons are, but about the historic breakthrough in banning the last weapons of mass destruction, as a first step towards their elimination. Leo Axt, EU representative of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Nobel Peace Prize 2017), will walk you through the early days of the campaign, and how it managed to convince the majority of the world’s nations that now is the time to overcome the blockages and outlaw nuclear weapons under international law – and what EU countries can do to stop the nuclear arms race: nuclear weapons are not a status symbol, but something to be ashamed of.

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