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Excerpts of speeches from Nobel Peace Prize recipients

December 10, 1997

Excerpts from the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speeches by Jody Williams and Rae McGrath of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, or ICBL, given Wednesday in Oslo, Norway.


Jody Williams:

This campaign was born out of the minefields. This campaign was born out of the humanitarian work of the mine-clearers and those putting limbs back on victims because they struggled so hard in the minefields _ both to remove the mines and to give dignity back to those who had to live in the minefields. ... 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 land mine....

We’re not so naive that we think that because we have accomplished this much, the problem is immediately eradicated. There are still tens of millions of mines in 70 countries around the world, affecting lives on a daily basis....

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.


Rae McGrath on behalf of the ICBL:

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 (needed to) ratify the Ottawa Treaty.

...All those states who have 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.

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