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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 21, December 1997

ICBL and Jody Williams Receive Nobel Peace Prize

In Oslo on 10 December, the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and its Coordinator, Jody Williams. Rae McGrath received the prize on behalf of the ICBL. Presenting the award, Nobel Committee Chair Francis Sejersted stated: You have not only dared to tackle your task, but also have proved that the impossible is possible." Extracts from the acceptance speeches follow.

Rae McGrath

"The International Campaign will do everything in its power in the coming months to achieve a legally-binding ban by December 1998. To this end, we, as Nobel Peace Prize laureates, issue a challenge directly to the heads of State of each signatory country: to make sure that your country is among the first 40 nations to ratify the Ottawa Treaty.

... All those States who failed to sign this Treaty have failed humanity. Size, power and economy are irrelevant. They are intransigent and uncaring in the face of compelling humanitarian, economic and environmental evidence that anti-personnel mines should be banned."

Jody Williams

"This campaign was born out of the minefields. This campaign was born of the humanitarian work of the mine-clearers and those putting limbs back on victims... They recognized the dire necessity of going to the root of the problem, and the root of the problem is the indiscriminate killer of civilians: the landmine...

We're not so naive that we think that because we have accomplished this much, the problem is immediately eradicated. ... However, had we not established this new norm, had we not for the first time in history taken a weapon in widespread use out of the arsenals of the world, we would never have been able to have the possibility to give the next generations a mine-free world. ...

What we created in my view is a new superpower... It is small nations and mid-size governments coming together with civil society to work in partnership and create a new model in the post-Cold War period."

Reports: Excerpts of Nobel peace speeches, Associated Press, 10 December; Landmine activists accept Nobel, Associated Press, 10 December; Nobel winners lash mine ban non-signatories, Reuters, 10 December.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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