The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. Ican is a coalition of non-governmental organisations from 100 different countries.

The Nobel Committee said Ican was given the award for its work “to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”. The organisation has achieved a treaty-based prohibiton of such weapons through international agreements, it said.

“An important argument in the rationale for prohibiting nuclear weapons is the unacceptable human suffering that a nuclear war will cause,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said. Ican has brought together 108 states who have made a commitment to cooperate in efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons by signing the Humanitarian Pledge.

‘Need to disarm world’s 15,000 nuclear weapons’

Ican Chief Beatrice Fihn had recently called the nuclear standoff between the United States and North Korea a “wake-up call”. Speaking to AFP earlier this week, she had stressed on the urgent need to disarm almost 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world.

“Nuclear weapons have the risk of literally ending the world,” Fihn told AFP. “As long as they exist, the risk will be there, and eventually our luck will run out.”

In June, with the help of Ican, 122 nations at the United Nations adopted a new treaty banning nuclear weapons. However, nine countries that possess nuclear weapons – India, Pakistan, the US, North Korea, Russia, China, France, Israel and Britain – had participated in the negotiations but not signed the treaty, AFP reported.

Last year’s prize

In 2016, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos received the Nobel Peace Prize for “for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end”.