Nobel Peace Prize winners ICAN urge Australia to sign nuclear weapons treaty


An Australian-born group that was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize says Australia needs to join global efforts to abolish nuclear weapons.

A Victorian-born international group that was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize says it's a shame the Australian government has not signed the treaty banning nuclear weapons that led to its award.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was launched in Victoria's Parliament House 10 years ago.

On Friday in Oslo the organisation was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its work to achieve a treaty-based ban on nuclear weapons.

It comes at a time when the world is watching the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula and the rhetoric of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as the US threat to tear up the Iran nuclear deal.

ICAN describes itself as a coalition of non-government organisations in more than 100 countries. It was launched internationally in Vienna in 2007.

The organisation worked on negotiations for the Treaty on the United Nations Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted by 122 countries in July.

ICAN elated at Nobel Peace Prize, pays tribute to atom bomb survivors

However, the treaty was shunned by nuclear powers the US, Britain, Russia and China. Australia also did not sign the treaty.

"It is a matter of deep regret that the Australian government has thus far refused to join the treaty, and boycotted the conference to negotiate it," the group said in a statement on Saturday.

ICAN says Australia led a small group of nations who tried to derail efforts in 2016 to secure a UN mandate to launch treaty negotiations.

"Our government's belief that nuclear weapons, for a select few, are a legitimate and essential source of security is not only misguided, but also dangerous, for it incites proliferation and undermines disarmament," the group said.

ICAN hopes the federal government will change its stance on nuclear weapons given Australia's commitment to other treaties prohibiting chemical and biological weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munition.

"For the sake of our collective security, the government must now embrace the global ban on nuclear weapons.

"Greater public pressure is needed, along with enlightened leadership."

ICAN founder Tilman Ruff AM says being awarded the Nobel Prize was "quite humbling" and "unbelievably joyful".

Nobel prize 'shines light' on pathway to nuclear free world: ICAN

Source: AAP - SBS

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