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NOBEL

Swedes to probe ‘pro-NATO’ peace prizes

Stockholm officials have begun investigating claims that Alfred Nobel's last wishes are routinely sidelined by a Norwegian Nobel Committee blinded by pro-NATO sentiment when selecting its annual peace laureate.

Swedes to probe 'pro-NATO' peace prizes
Photo: Henry Kissinger/White House

”It is crystal clear that the committee is not following the will. No one has contested my argument on that point. But so far, it has been completely impossible to start a discussion about it,” Norwegian author and law professor Fredrik S Heffermehl told Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter.

Heffermehl has long claimed that the Norwegian Nobel Committee isn't following Alfred Nobel's wishes, recently releasing a book to drive home the point.

Although many laureates have done "commendable work", Heffermehl argues that this is not enough to receive a prize with such explicit criteria.

Alfred Nobel's will states that the prize should be given to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

In awarding the prize to politicians such as Barack Obama, Henry Kissinger, or even Al Gore, whose work focuses on the environment and not peace and disarmament, the committee is failing to respect the wishes of the deceased benefactor, Heffermehl believes.

”Nobel was much more clever and had broader visions than the peace prize committee about global disarmament, among other things,” he told Dagens Nyheter.

The Stockholm County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen), the agency tasked with monitoring the Swedish Nobel Foundation, has agreed to investigate the matter. The agency said it has taken the preliminary step of writing to the foundation, asking for its view on the stipulations in Alfred Nobel's will.

Mikael Wiman, legal expert at the agency, thinks that it is clear that the responsibility lies with the Swedish Nobel Foundation, which supervises the work of the Norwegian committee.

”We think Heffermehl has a point. Not that the foundation should get involved in particular appointments, but we do think they should ensure that the rules in the will are adhered to, and they should also get the opportunity to answer what their view is on this,” he told the newspaper.

Jonna Petersson, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Nobel Foundation, said the group had not yet had time to read the agency's letter.

”All we know is that the County Administrative Board previously, in a decision from 2008, chose not to act on Heffermehl's views,” she told the paper.

However, this time it seems that the indignant author's arguments have hit home.

”We think that the professor has come back with more substance to his arguments this time,” said Wiman to Sveriges Radio.

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RACISM

Norwegian MP proposes Black Lives Matter for Nobel Peace Prize

Norwegian MP Petter Eide has nominated Black Lives Matter for the Nobel Peace Prize, reportedly stating that the movement had "forced countries other than the US to face up to racism within their own societies."

Norwegian MP proposes Black Lives Matter for Nobel Peace Prize
A Black Lives Matter demonstration in Oslo, 2016. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB/ TT

“I find that one of the key challenges we have seen in America, but also in Europe and Asia, is the kind of increasing conflict based on inequality,” Mr Eide said in his nomination papers, according to The Guardian.  

“Black Lives Matter has become a very important worldwide movement to fight racial injustice. They have had a tremendous achievement in raising global awareness and consciousness about racial injustice,” he added.

Founded in the United States in 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum in May 2020 after George Floyd died. A white policeman had knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes ignoring Floyd’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe.

The incident fuelled protests in the United States that sped across the world.

“This movement has become one of the strongest global movements for working with racial injustice,” Petter Eide, told AFP.

“They have also been spread to many many countries, building up… awareness on the importance of fighting racial injustice,” he said.

Tens of thousands of people, including MPs and ministers from all countries, former Nobel laureates and distinguished academics, can propose candidates for the various Nobel prizes. The deadline ends on Sunday.

The Nobel prizes will be announced at the start of October. 

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