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The abolition of nuclear weapons could be done “fast”, says ICAN

Ⓒ AFP – Fabrice COFFRINI – | Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN, in an interview with AFP on November 30, 2017 in Geneva

The anti-nuclear activists who will receive the Nobel Peace Prize 2017 next weekend hope that a new treaty for the prohibition of nuclear weapons will quickly relegate the bomb to the confines of history.

In an interview prior to the ceremony on December 10, the head of the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Beatrice Fihn recalled that the attitude towards other weapons and harmful behaviors had changed from one day to the next. prohibition.

Despite the crisis between the United States and North Korea, which caused the most serious nuclear threat in decades, Fihn told AFP that the rapid abolition of nuclear weapons was “very realistic.”

ICAN, which has been warning of the danger posed by this type of weapons for years, recorded an important victory when the United Nations approved a new treaty that prohibits them in July.

The document, adopted by 122 countries despite the opposition of nuclear powers, could take years to enter into force, since it has to be ratified before by at least 50 signatories. But Fihn is convinced that it has already had an impact on public opinion regarding nuclear weapons.

Sitting in the meager office of ICAN in Geneva, this Swedish woman with long blonde hair and a warm smile gives as an example the rapid change of attitude towards tobacco.

“We did not sit around waiting for smokers to stop smoking, we banned them inside and they had to leave if they wanted to continue smoking,” he recalled.

“At present, it seems ridiculous to think that we were sitting in the offices and that we smoked, it’s really crazy,” he said.

“I think something similar could happen with nuclear weapons, and ten years later, we can not imagine that we would have accepted that.”

– ‘Window of opportunity’ –

Fihn believes that the prohibition treaty and the Nobel prize for ICAN opened a “window of opportunity” to change the point of view on nuclear weapons.

Mentioning the threats of military intervention by US President Donald Trump against Pyongyang, Fihn considered the situation “extremely worrisome” and warned against an increase in the “risk of accident or miscalculation”.

“We can choose between ending nuclear weapons or letting those weapons end with us.”

“I think if you’re worried about seeing Donald Trump with access to nuclear weapons and the ability to destroy […] the world, then you’re worried about nuclear weapons,” he added.

In addition, he considered ridiculous the affirmation of the nine States that possess the atomic bomb that this weapon dissuades conflicts and promotes peace.

“The great problem of the theory of deterrence is the idea that if we threaten to commit more deaths, massacres, blind killings, peace will be imposed in one way or another,” he said.

The time has come, according to her, to stop considering nuclear weapons as “a tool of magical power” that some countries want to possess in order to “feel more important”, while in reality they are weapons of mass destruction.

– ‘Naive’ –

Fihn does not hide his frustration with nuclear states that often label as “naive” the efforts to ban those weapons.

“I think it’s quite the opposite, it’s naive to think that nine states can own them and not the rest of the world.”

“It is naive to believe that we can have 15,000 nuclear weapons and that these will never be used,” he added.

Fihn believes that his small organization and the hundreds of anti-nuclear groups he helps coordinate around the world have already done an incredible job.

“The greatest countries in the world, the most militarily powerful countries, the richest countries have tried to prevent [our work] and have actively worked against us, and we have done it in spite of everything.”

“Hopefully, that will motivate other people to mobilize against nuclear weapons and other issues, and change is possible.”

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