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Nobel Foundation rejects Peace Prize criticism

The Nobel Foundation, which administers the prestigious prizes in line with the will of Alfred Nobel, on Thursday rejected criticism of recent choices for the Peace Prize.

"Despite that many lively discussions have been held on whether the chosen Peace Prize laureates fulfilled the prescribed provisions, the Foundation does not consider that the prize decisions made by the Norwegian Nobel Committee have entailed any such deviation," the Foundation said in a statement.

Swedish authorities had asked the Foundation to look into claims from Fredrik Heffermehl, a lawyer and author of the book "The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted," that the Norwegian Nobel Committee had gone far astray from the wishes expressed in prize creator Alfred Nobel's 1895 last will and testament.

Heffermehl claims that the five-member prize committee had deviated from Nobel's wishes by honouring human rights activists, such as Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010, environmentalists such as Al Gore and the IPCC in 2007, and humanitarian workers like Mother Teresa in 1979.

"What cause and which people did Nobel have in mind when he spoke of 'champions of peace'? The answer is so easy and so clear that if (the head of the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Geir) Lundestad and his committee accepted it, their only reaction would be to resign immediately," he told AFP in an email last month.

In his will, Nobel stipulated that the Peace Prize should go to the person or organisation that has "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."

The Stockholm-based Nobel Foundation meanwhile stressed that Nobel had wanted the different prize committees to be independent in their decisions, and pointed out that in all the prize categories there was room for interpretation and debate about which areas should be included.

It will in the end officially be up to the Stockholm county administration to determine if the Norwegian Nobel Committee has followed the rules or not, but it has already rejected a similar complaint from Heffermehl once before, in 2009, and is likely to fall in line with the Nobel Foundation's opinion.

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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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