Global peacemakers join march in Oslo after Peace ceremony saying 'No' to nuclear weapons
More than 3,000 peacemakers from all over the world gathered in Oslo on Dec. 10 to commemorate the work of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapon's with banners with slogans such as: "The world must sign UN nuclear ban."
ICAN is an alliance of 468 civil society organizations and it received the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday for its ground-breaking efforts to secure a prohibition on nuclear weapons.
The supporting organizations of ICAN include numerous religious groups including the Geneva-based World Council of Churches where its headquarters are based along with those of other ecumenical institutions.
Beatrice Fihn, ICAN executive director, accepted the prize on behalf of all the campaigners in the alliance talking of fear, freedom and the future as the basis for a strong statement against the possession of nuclear weapons based on world realities.
"A choice between the two endings: the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us. It is not naive to believe in the first choice. It is not irrational to think nuclear States can disarm. It is not idealistic to believe in life over fear and destruction; it is a necessity."
Setsuko Thurlow, a Japanese survivor of the Hiroshima bombing also received the award on behalf of ICAN, saying in her speech that nuclear weapons and humanity cannot co-exist.
"Every second of every day, nuclear weapons endanger everyone we love and everything we hold dear," Thurlow said, noting, "we must not tolerate this insanity any longer."
She said, "These weapons are not a necessary evil; they are the ultimate evil," as she asserted that history will judge harshly those who reject the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.
World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit said after the official ceremony that the day held a special place in history as "a day that changes the agenda.
"The people who makes peace applauded and they were applauded. We in the WCC are proud of being their partner.
"To make peace is holy work. We are encouraged by the Nobel Peace Prize for ICAN. We need words that can make the world accountable to our call to make peace.
"We need this treaty as an expression of how it should be, before it is so. We had a solemn moment of prayer and hope yesterday in the Trinity Church in Oslo."