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


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 Australia.

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 stopped.

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, Tel. 802-387-2080

Mary Wareham, Coordinator, US Campaign to Ban Landmines, Tel. 202-483-9222

Vietnam Veterans Foundation of America

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