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Nobel Prize winners pressure world powers to ban nuclear weapons

Atomic bombs could be banned by the world’s major powers in the next few years — at least if the recent Nobel Peace Peace prize winner has its way.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) lobbied for a global treaty to ban atomic bombs during a Monday press conference at the United Nations.

Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director for ICAN, said the organization’s ambitious goal was to get the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons ratified by 50 countries before the end of 2018.

“Of course a Nobel Peace prize isn’t going to make Trump give up nuclear weapons,” Fihn said on Monday. “But what we are trying to do is make nuclear weapons unacceptable in the mindsets of people. . . In the end, governments have to do what their people say.”

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The treaty, which was approved by the UN on Sept. 20th, has been signed by 50 nations and ratified by three. But 47 more countries need to ratify the treaty for it to have legal force within those countries.

The new treaty takes a hardline approach compared to the 1970 Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which asked countries with nuclear weapons to “share the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology and to pursue nuclear disarmament.”

The phrasing of the NPT allowed countries that signed it and had nuclear technology before 1967 to interpret the agreement loosely. More than 30 years later, all five of those countries — the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China — still have nuclear weapons.

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the Nobel Prize come at a key time in international politics.

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The conference came days after President Trump’s tweet that stated America’s nuclear arsenal is modernized, “far stronger and more powerful than ever before.”

But ICAN members are confident that if they can make atomic bombs unacceptable in the eyes of the people, policy and eventual disarmament will follow.

At the press conference, Wright used the attention surrounding the Nobel Prize to call out Japan, which has not signed or ratified the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. Japan has no nuclear weapons of its own, but is protected under America’s nuclear weapon umbrella.

Wright said Japan’s failure to sign and ratify the new treaty is a betrayal of the Hibakusha, or the surviving victims of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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“They have issued a dire warning to humanity and we must listen to their testimony and heed their call,” he said.

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