Congratulations everyone - we won the Nobel Peace Prize!
A press release follows from the International Campaign to Ban Landmines:
For Immediate Release
October 10, 1997
MINE BAN CAMPAIGN WINS NOBEL PEACE PRIZE!
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) today was awarded the
1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its global efforts to eradicate antipersonnel
landmines. The ICBL is an unprecedented coalition of more than 1,000
non-governmental organizations in more than sixty countries. The award
went to the International Campaign and its coordinator, Jody Williams, of
the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation.
Ms. Williams said, "The International Campaign to Ban Landmines is deeply
grateful to the Nobel Committee for its recognition of our work to ban
this insidious, indiscriminate weapon. Each of the 1,000 organizations
in the coalition share this honor. Our strength has been not only in our
numbers and diversity, but also in our determination and cooperation."
The ICBL brings together humanitarian, human rights, children's, peace,
veterans, medical, development, arms control, religious, environmental
and women's groups in a common call for a complete ban on antipersonnel
mines, and increased resources for humanitarian demining and mine victim
rehabilitation and assistance.
A comprehensive treaty banning all antipersonnel mines was adopted in
Oslo, Norway on September 18 after three weeks of international
negotiations. More than one hundred nations are expected to sign the
treaty in Ottawa, Canada on December 3-4. "Those who do not sign the
treaty should be stigmatized," said Ms. Williams, "and those who continue
to use mines should be ostracized by the international community. The
recognition of the importance of this Campaign by the Nobel Committee
should make it abundantly clear to all that governments that refuse to
sign the mine ban treaty in December are on the wrong side of humanity."
Governments indicating they will not sign include the United States,
Russia, China, India and Pakistan. Those undecided include Japan and
The ICBL has been praised by numerous governments and U.N. agencies for
being the driving force in the spectacular success of the movement to ban
antipersonnel mines. Begun by just a handful of NGOs less than six years
ago, the ICBL has played the key role in educating the world about the
landmines crisis, and convincing governments to take urgent action to
eliminate the weapon. There are more than 100 million mines buried in
more than 60 countries. They claim more than 26,000 victims each year,
almost all innocent civilians, killed or maimed after the fighting has
The ICBL has also worked in close partnership with the International
Committee of the Red Cross and pro-ban governments such as Canada,
Austria, Mexico, Belgium, South Africa, and Norway. "The prize is also
recognition that the ban movement represents a new way of conducting
international diplomacy, in which middle and smaller powers take the lead
in responding to and working with civil society to address urgent
humanitarian needs," said Ms. Williams.
"In many ways our work has just begun," said Ms. Williams. The ICBL has
drafted an action plan for promoting the rapid entry into force of the
treaty, as well as universalization and monitoring of the treaty, and for
expanding programs for mine clearance and victim assistance. "This
campaign will not go away," said Ms. Williams. "Some might see this as a
threat, others a promise. But the ICBL has committed itself to the total
eradication of this weapon and to assistance to those who must live with
this lethal contamination. When the weapon is completely eradicated, our
work might be done."
For more information contact:
Jody Williams, Coordinator, International Campaign to Ban Landmines,
Mary Wareham, Coordinator, US Campaign to Ban Landmines,
Vietnam Veterans Foundation of America