Canadian Hiroshima survivor to jointly accept ICAN Nobel Peace Prize

Thurlow imageToday we learned the amazing news that Canadian citizen Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, will jointly accept this year’s Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Here is an excerpt from the ICAN press release:

Thurlow was 13 years old when the United States attacked her city, killing more than 140,000 people. She will receive the prize together with ICAN’s executive director, Beatrice Fihn, at a ceremony in Oslo on 10 December.

Thurlow has been a leading figure in ICAN since its launch in 2007. She played a pivotal role in the United Nations negotiations that led to the adoption of a landmark treaty on 7 July that outlaws nuclear weapons categorically.

She and other Canadian ICAN campaigners are appealing to the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to sign this historic accord. At the behest of the United States, Canada boycotted the negotiating process earlier this year.

“I was dismayed and heartbroken when the Prime Minister dismissed the new treaty as ‘sort of useless’,” said Thurlow, referring to a statement that he made in the Canadian parliament on 7 June.

“Such callous language to describe the prohibition of the most horrific weapons humankind has ever known. The Prime Minister seems to wilfully ignore the fact that the majority of Canadians want a world without nuclear weapons.”

A former social worker, Thurlow has lived in Toronto since 1955. She was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2006.

“As a living witness to Hiroshima, I beseech Justin Trudeau to change course,” she said.

Click here for the full ICAN press release.

The NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs, Hélène Laverdière, made the following statement:

“Perhaps now that a Canadian is accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the Trudeau government will wake up to the reality of this global threat to humanity, and join the Nuclear Ban Treaty.

The Liberals cannot continue to pretend they believe in nuclear disarmament so long as they stay outside of this treaty, and they cannot pretend to celebrate Canadian achievement on the international stage so long as they do not congratulate ICAN on their Nobel Peace Prize.”

Click here for the entire statement.

Further reading: Laura Stone, “Canadian woman who survived Hiroshima bombing urges change of heart from Trudeau,” Globe and Mail, 26 October 2017.


Photo credit: Wikimedia

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12 Responses to “Canadian Hiroshima survivor to jointly accept ICAN Nobel Peace Prize”

  1. Anne StreeterOctober 29, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

    I am so ashamed of our Prime Minister Trudeau. His position on this issue is totally unacceptable – so difficult to comprehend!!

  2. MOctober 28, 2017 at 6:50 pm #

    Sorry, you cannot put the GENIE back in the bottle. That being said I believe we still need to make it known that we want too.

  3. Vera GottliebOctober 28, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

    As a Canadian I hate to say this but feel I must: FOR SHAME, CANADA!!!

    • Don McBainOctober 29, 2017 at 11:44 pm #

      Don’t feel ashamed of Canada – just the leader that most of us, not me, elected.

  4. J.WOctober 28, 2017 at 1:44 am #

    Other important info for Ceasefire Newsletter

    Important meeting for the ICC
    WFM – Canada and Global Affairs Canada (Legal Affairs Division) have co-organized a meeting November 1 among Canadian civil society representatives and government officials ahead of the December 4-14 meeting of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court. The ASP is the annual governance body for the 124 parties to the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the Court.
    With important elections taking place, as well as a pending decision on the activation of ICC jurisdiction over the crime of aggression, this year’s ASP meetings are attracting considerable interest.
    Six of the Court’s 15 judges are due to be replaced this year. The civil society Coalition for the ICC is campaigning for states to nominate and elect highly-qualified and independent candidates through fair, transparent, and merit-based nomination and election processes. As part of this campaign, the coalition conducted interviews with all the candidates, as well as publishing additional information to help guide states parties during the elections. As five of the six outgoing ICC judges are women, the Coalition also campaigned to ensure that female candidates were nominated by states to ensure fair gender representation on the ICC bench. A Canadian, Kimberly Prost, is among those running for election.
    In 2010 an ICC review conference in Kampala Uganda agreed on amendments that paved the way for the Court to implement its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. (Presently the Court has jurisdiction over genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.) The Kampala amendments stipulated that more than 30 state ratifications of the amendments are needed to incorporate the definition and modalities for the ICC’s jurisdiction. That threshold has now been reached. However an additional step, a two-thirds vote of the Assembly of States Parties, is required to “activate” the Court’s exercise of jurisdiction. A decision on activating the Kampala amendments on the crime of aggression is also one of the significant agenda items at this year’s ICC ASP.

    Canadian steps to help the Rohingya

    In September, our TakeAction email suggested writing to Minister Freeland and asking her to make specific commitments to help the Rohingya. As a significant contributor of international assistance, Canada does have influence with the government in Myanmar. Canada has also recently joined a “Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect” which meets at the UN to advance international support for R2P.
    This week, Bob Rae was named as Prime Minister Trudeau’s Special Envoy to Myanmar. The press release said that Rae “will reinforce the urgent need to resolve the humanitarian and security crisis in Myanmar and to address the situation affecting vulnerable populations, including the Rohingya Muslim community, other religious and ethnic minorities, and women and girls. He will also advise the Prime Minister on how Canada can best support efforts to respond to the needs of those affected and displaced by the recent violence.”

    As well, an additional $12 million in humanitarian assistance was announced.

    WFMC also signed on to a letter organized by Human Rights Watch, and signed by 88 non-governmental organizations in total, that called on the UN General Assembly and Security Council to take immediate steps to address the human rights abuses and humanitarian catastrophe.

    Will Canada avoid embarrassment at international Peacekeeping meeting?

    Canada will host the 2017 Defence Ministerial Meeting on Peacekeeping, which takes place this November 14 & 15 in Vancouver. Over 500 delegates from 70 countries are expected to attend.
    Media interest in the meeting has been growing, in part because Canada’s August 2016 pledge to deploy up to 600 military and 150 police peacekeepers has not been acted upon. Barring some last-minute announcement, Canada, a country that has aspirations of being elected to a two-year term on the UN Security Council, appears willing to stand before the world this November hosting a peacekeeping pledging conference while failing to fulfill its own pledges.
    In response to this controversy, World Federalists will publish in early November a volume of 10 expert essays titled “Canada and the United Nations: Canada’s re-engagement with UN peace operations.” The publication will feature former foreign ministers, ambassadors, retired military, academic and civil society experts discussing the importance of a long-term Canadian commitment to UN peace operations. The publication will be online on the site of the UN and Canada project, as well as on the WFMC website, after November 10.

    Canada’s flawed Arms Trade Treaty implementing legislation
    C-47—An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting Canada’s accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments) came in for heavy criticism from a coalition of civil society organizations, including WFM – Canada. A joint statement indicated “While in principle we welcome Canada’s membership in this landmark treaty, we cannot support Bill C-47 in its current form.”

    Worth a listen
    The CBC Massey Lectures this year feature Prof. Payam Akhavan, on the topic “In search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey.” Akhavan is a strong advocate for the International Criminal Court and provided a strong statement last year when WFM – Canada honoured Senator Murray Sinclair at the Peace Award event in Montreal during the World Social Forum.
    The Massey lectures are aired on CBC November 6 to 10. More information is available on the CBC website.

  5. patrick mceneaney .October 27, 2017 at 10:34 pm #

    What do you expect we sell weapons to Saudi Arabia the most Totalitarian regime in the world . We also belong to the North Atlantic Terrorist Organization (NATO). Canada was told by this body not to vote to abolish Nuclear weapons which 130 countries voted Yes to abolish. Justin’s Dad was a Statesman he is not. He is a puppet

  6. Wayne Van DykeOctober 27, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

    It is becoming increasingly clear that our Prime Minister is part of the rich ruling class that runs this and many other countries in the world thus has limited vision to what is really going in the politics of the world. His experience coincides with his vision.
    Sadly, but also understandably changes are and can only be made by revolution. Then only will those that have been and are voiceless have half a chance at be heard.

    • Jeffrey SimpsonOctober 28, 2017 at 10:21 am #

      I think you are correct in saying that it will take a revolution to change the system. Thanks for your comment. Cheers.

  7. Jana Lynne WhiteOctober 27, 2017 at 6:37 pm #

    Morality is not useless.
    Integrity is not useless.
    It may no longer be valued by self-interested and self-serving “leaders” – but watch us!
    Increasingly, young and old shall rise up and demand that our true Leaders lead with sovereignty and dignity.

    Canada can stand for Canada and the world – in one-ness with humanity.

    Or, we can cower to a narcissistic sociopath who is trying to dogmatically disintegrate a humane social system for himself and his greedy, lying, cronies.

    What we value is better than that. And we demand you see that in the people whom you represent.

    A decision to be Canadian – to stand for Canada … is not useless.

    It is the hope of a species about to extinguish itself with non-evolutionary stupidity and greed.

  8. Nancy MacgregorOctober 27, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

    the Prime Minister needs to ask the people what they want.

  9. William Stollery FamilyOctober 27, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

    Setsuko & ICan on receiving the Nobel Prize❗️
    Our family have donated considerable time & effort the last 35 years volunteering with various peace groups ie Project Ploughshares, Voice of Women etc. trying to educate our politicians/citizens that,as Einstein said, We must change our way of thinking & destroy nuclear weapons or they will destroy civilation,as we know it.
    Trudeau is wrong to say “the new treaty is sort of useless” and we will be writing to him and his government to reverse his negative thinking and take a leadership role in pushing for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
    Once again congratulations for your years of effort to rid the world of these horrific weapons❗️

    • DemetriosOctober 28, 2017 at 9:01 am #

      William, I commend you for your family’s efforts to make a positive contribution to this troubling state the world is in with nuclear (and any) weapons. The Ceasefire Community is behind you! It makes one wonder why it can take a whole lifetime to finally realize and “see” the many forces at play that affect humanity negatively, and that GREED is our biggest people problem.

      Although I have little doubt that Einstein made the quote you cited, I must remind you that he is one of the principal players who persuaded President Roosevelt to develop the atomic bomb.