Anstruther activist carries peace torch to Oslo

Jill and Stephen Gethins MP with local activists
Jill and Stephen Gethins MP with local activists

Jill Saunderson from Anstruther was in Oslo last month for the celebrations when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Along with three others, she met with the first Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who sent her congratulations to ICAN and gave them a special torch to carry from Scotland to the Nobel torchlight procession.

Jill also meet with Stephen Gethins MP for North East Fife, in advance of the trip, and the St Andrews Women for Independence, both of whom sent their congratulations to ICAN.

Jill has been a lifelong peace activist and was a delegate at the first global ban treaty conference in Oslo in 2013 where she met Martin Sheen, also a delegate at the time.

She said: “The Global Ban Treaty is a fantastic step forward for ICAN and winning the prize gives further credibility to the peace movement, and to civil society involvement in negotiations for the treaty.”

ICAN is a coalition working to mobilise people in countries around the world to pressurise governments to ban nuclear weapons.

Inspired by the progress in banning the use of land mines, ICAN was first formed in Australia, and officially launched in Austria in 2007.

It now operates in 101 countries with the support of high profile figures including the former UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. The biggest milestone in the history of ICAN came with the adoption by 122 countries of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The treaty was hailed as a success, the result of collective efforts by ICAN alongside the Red Cross, UN agencies and individual countries.

When awarding ICAN the peace prize the Norwegian Nobel Committee says its intention was “to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”.