Entries in Nobel Peace Prize (14)


Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to European Union

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(OSLO, Norway) -- This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the European Union.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the winner on Friday, saying in a statement, "The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe."


While the committee noted that the EU is currently facing "grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest," it said it wanted to focus on these achievements, which it considers as the union's "most important result."

"The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace," the committee said.

"The work of the EU represents 'fraternity between nations,' and amounts to a form of the 'peace congresses' to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will," it added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi Formally Accepts Nobel Peace Prize 21 Years Later

State Department(NEW YORK) -- Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi formally accepted her Nobel Peace Prize today, more than two decades after it was awarded to honor her fight for democracy.

"We have been waiting for you for a very long time," Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland told Suu Kyi. "In your isolation, you have become a moral leader for the whole world."

Suu Kyi won the award in 1991 but for more than 20 years was either forbidden from leaving her country, or too afraid she would never be allowed to return. Saturday, as a free woman and member of parliament in a newly open Burma (now called Myanmar), she finally gave her acceptance speech.

"When the Nobel Committee chose to honor me, the road I had chosen...became a less lonely path to follow," Suu Kyi said. "The Nobel Peace Prize opened up a door in my heart."

It was a remarkable moment.

A woman who had lived a difficult and lonely life as a prisoner of conscience was met by trumpet fanfare and an adoring crowd of dignitaries in Oslo's Town Hall, who gave her a pair of long standing ovations.

A Burmese musician played her favorite piece, the same one played here 22 years ago, when an empty chair marked Suu Kyi's absence.

Saturday, she spoke of her years under house arrest, when "it felt as though I were no longer part of the real world." What the Nobel award had done, she said, was send an unmistakable message, to her supporters and to the Burmese regime. "The Nobel Prize had drawn the attention of the world," she said. "We were not going to be forgotten."

She knows that challenges remain--for her country, and for human rights the world over. "I am standing here because I was once a prisoner of conscience," she said. "Please remember the often repeated truth that one prisoner of conscience is too many." Like Mandela, for all her struggles, she has no appetite for revenge. "What I want most," she said on her arrival in Europe Thursday, "is reconciliation and not retribution."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Three Women Honored at Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Norway

Nigel Waldron/Getty Images(OSLO) -- Three women who risked their lives to fight for injustice in Liberia and Yemen received their Nobel Peace prize Saturday morning in Oslo.

The ceremony honored Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her compatriot Leymay Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen.

The Nobel committee chairman said the three women represent the struggle for human rights and specifically the role of women in fighting for peace and equality.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Three Women's Activists

From left, Yemen's Arab Spring activist Tawakkul Karman, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Liberian 'peace warrior' Leymah Gbowee. GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(OSLO, Norway) -- The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was split three ways between Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman -- three women who have fought tirelessly to organize women for human rights.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the 24th and current president of Liberia and the only elected female head of state in Africa.  She is currently running for reelection to a second term on Oct. 11 against 15 other candidates.  A Harvard-educated economist, Sirleaf is praised for the growth Liberia has seen since its devastating 14-year civil war; she is expected to win a second term.

Leymah Gbowee is an African peace activist who was a key figure in organizing the movement to bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War.  Beginning in 2002, Gbowee began the peace movement by organizing women to pray for peace through non-violent protest and prayers for peace.

Tawakul Karman, is a Yemeni journalist and human rights activist, who works for the release of political prisoners in her home country, organizing demonstrations and sit-ins.  One of the loudest voices in the Yemeni protests, she has received several death threats and has became a major figurehead of the ongoing Arab Spring opposition.  A 32 year-old mother of three, she is one of the youngest to receive the prize.

The women were awarded the prize on Friday for their "non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work."

The announcement of the three women as shared recipients of this year's prize came as a surprise, as a number of well-known contenders were rumored to be the winners, including Bradley Manning, Mark Zuckerberg and even President Obama for a second time.

According to insiders, the frontrunners for the Peace prize this year included Israa Abdel Fattah, cofounder of the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni, and Egyptian Google executive Wael Ghonim.

Other names that were in the mix were Afghan human rights campaigner Sima Samar, Burmese opposition leader and previous winner Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Zimbabwean prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and ex-German chancellor (and perennial nominee) Helmut Kohl.

Organizations can also be awarded the prize, and the Russian civil rights group Memorial, and the European Union, were believed to be in the running this year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Insiders Hint Arab Spring Activist Could Get Nobel Peace Prize

(Top L-R) Egyptian Israa Abdel Fattah and Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni (Bottom L-R) Egyptian Google executive Wael Ghonim and Afghan human rights activist Sima Samar who could be potential candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) Who's going to win the Nobel Peace Prize on October 7th? As usual, the names of this year's 241 candidates for the award have been kept secret, but that hasn't stopped the speculation. All the buzz is that one of the activists involved in the Arab Spring will get the phone call from Stockholm a few minutes before the official announcement.

According to insiders, the frontrunners include Israa Abdel Fattah, cofounder of April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni and Egyptian Google executive Wael Ghonim.

If any of them do win, they will be the youngest Peace Laureate ever, with all three in their late 20s or early 30s. The youngest to date is Irish peace campaigner Mairead Corrigan, who was 32 years old when she won in 1976.

Other names said to be in the mix are Afghan human rights campaigner Sima Samar, Burmese opposition leader and previous winner Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Zimbabwean prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and ex-German chancellor (and perennial nominee) Helmut Kohl.

Organizations can also be awarded the prize, and the Russian civil rights group Memorial, and the European Union, are believed to be in the running this year.

Nominations are made by an array of international academics, lawyers, previous winners, the Nobel Committee and others. They are not made public, although some are leaked by those who put their names forward.

A winner is chosen by a committee appointed by the Norwegian parliament, and the prize awarded in a ceremony in Oslo, which this year takes place on December 10.

Incredibly, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Benito Mussolini have all been nominated for the peace prize. Hitler was put forward in 1939 by a member of the Swedish parliament. Wisely, he later withdrew his choice. Stalin was nominated in 1945 for his efforts to end World War II. Mahatma Gandhi was nominated five times but never won the award.

What exactly are the criteria for a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate?

The will of Alfred Nobel states that it should be awarded 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."

Inevitably, the Nobel Peace Prize attracts controversy. The most heavily criticized was in 1973 when the award was given to Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho for their contribution to the peace negotiations in Vietnam.

Eyebrows were raised when President Obama was awarded the prize in 2009, less than a year after his election.

Last year's choice of Chinese dissident Liu Xiobo caused a diplomatic storm. Liu is still imprisoned in China on political charges.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


China’s Jailed Nobel Laureate, One Year Later 

Darrin Klimek/Thinkstock(JINZHOU, China) -- Last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiobo, remains in his prison cell in the northeastern Chinese city of Jinzhou, while the world awaits the announcement of this year’s recipient, and the Chinese government grows even more intolerant of dissent.

Liu’s prize famously sat on an empty seat during last year’s award ceremony in Olso, Norway, because the Chinese authorities did not allow him or his family to be in attendance.  Liu is serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power” when he authored a petition calling for pro-democracy reforms in China.

As for what has changed one year later, 2011 has been marked by the silence of Chinese activists “achieved through disappearance, intimidation and abuse,” Time magazine noted.
Even Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, who was placed under severe supervision after he was awarded the prize last year, is still not allowed to communicate with the outside world, an ABC News crew found out first hand last year when they tried to visit her home. Uniformed and plainclothes security guards had cordoned off the area.

Liu’s father passed away in September and, according to an Agence France Presse interview with Liu’s brother, Liu Xiaoxun, the Chinese authorities, in an unusual act of temporary leniency, allowed Liu out of his cell to attend his father’s memorial.  Liu has also recently been allowed visitors.

His wife visited him in prison in August and his three brothers were allowed a visit earlier this month.
The Chinese authorities have been especially sensitive this year to any semblance of dissent, given the events that have been unfolding in the Arab world.

There is even new legislation being proposed that would make secret detention -- imprisonment without any notice to family members -- legal for periods of up to six months in cases of terrorism, state security or serious corruption.  Human rights groups worry that the legislation will be used to quash dissent.

As for China’s displeasure with Norway’s decision to award the Peace Prize to Liu, the AFP also reported that in the past year, China has continued to voice its protest by targeting Norway’s salmon industry. Chinese customs officials have reportedly placed Norwegian salmon imports under an added level of scrutiny, requiring so many additional inspections that the salmon rotted away in Chinese warehouses.

Copyrightg 2011 ABC News Radio


Wangari Maathai, First Female African Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dies at 71

ABC News(NAIROBI, Kenya) -- Professor Wangari Maathai, a famed Kenyan environmentalist and human rights activist, passed away Sunday in Nairobi after a long battle with cancer, according to the Green Belt Movement, an organization she founded in 1977.  She was 71 years old.

Through the Green Belt Movement (GBM), Professor Maathai helped poor communities in Kenya improve their environmental conditions by promoting the planting of trees, which provide firewood for cooking and protect watersheds.  Since the organization was started, GBM says it "has since mobilized hundreds of thousands of women and men to plant more than 47 million trees, restoring degraded environments and improving the quality of life for people in poverty."

Professor Maathai was also a tireless activist against tribalism, sexism and corruption in Kenya.  She, along with other pro-democracy advocates, protested the abuses committed under the dictatorial regime of former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi, resulting in her being harassed and arrested.

In 2004, Professor Maathai became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.  She was awarded "for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace".

Among her other achievements: Elected in December 2002, Professor Maathai served a term as one of the only a female members of Kenya's parliament.  And earlier, in 1971, she became the first woman in East Africa to earn a Ph.D.

Professor Maathai is survived by her three children and a granddaughter.  The Green Belt Movement says it will provide information on Professor Maathai's funeral and memorial services shortly.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Receives Nomination for Nobel Peace Prize

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NORWAY) -- A Norwegian parliamentarian has nominated WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, saying his publication of thousands of secret government documents has helped to promote human rights, democracy and freedom of speech.

Snorre Valen, 24, a member of the country's Socialist Left Party, announced his submission to the Nobel Committee Wednesday on his blog.

"WikiLeaks have contributed to the struggle for those very values globally, by exposing (among many other things) corruption, war crimes and torture -- sometimes even conducted by allies of Norway," he said. "Most recently, by disclosing the economic arrangements by the presidential family in Tunisia, WikiLeaks have made a small contribution to bringing down a 24-year lasting dictatorship."

Valen acknowledged the controversy surrounding WikiLeaks' actions but insisted the whistleblower organization was working for the public interest.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee declined to comment on Valen's nomination of Assange or on any other potential nominations submitted ahead of Tuesday's deadline. The group's website noted it receives more than 200 nominations per year.

The Nobel committee will announce the next Peace Prize winner in October and formally present a medal and $1.6-million award to the laureate in a December ceremony.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Washington Shows Support for Jailed Nobel Peace Prize Winner

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony centered around the empty chair meant for this year's recipient, Liu Xiaobo, currently imprisoned in China. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. support for Nobel Peace Prize winner and jailed human rights activist Liu Xiaobo has flowed from the highest branches of office. President Obama said in a paper statement Friday, “Mr. Liu Xiaobo is far more deserving of this award than I was.”

The president added that the U.S. respects China’s ‘extraordinary’ accomplishment of lifting millions from poverty, and that human rights includes the dignity that comes with freedom from want.

“But,” Obama continued, “Mr. Liu reminds us that human dignity also depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law. The values he espouses are universal, his struggle is peaceful, and he should be released as soon as possible.”

Secretary of State Clinton’s statement echoed the call for Liu’s release, and urged China to again revisit its human rights policy.

“We urge China to uphold its international human rights obligations and to respect the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all Chinese citizens,” said Clinton.

With Liu Xiaobo imprisoned and his wife Liu Xia under house arrest, no one travelled to Norway to accept the prize. Instead, an empty chair represented Liu’s absence in Oslo. The last time a representative of the winner was absent from the ceremony was in 1935, when Hitler prevented that year’s winner, Count Carl von Ossietzky, or anyone from Germany, from attending.

Representative Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., did attend Friday’s ceremony, in one of her last acts as speaker of the House. Pelosi has been a long-time advocate for human rights in China; in 1991 she unfurled a bilingual pro-democracy sign in Tiananmen Square, Beijing to mark the army’s killing of protestors two years earlier. In May 2009 -- more than a year and a half before he would be awarded the peace price -- she pushed for the release of Liu Xiaobo, in a letter presented to Chinese President Hu Jintao.

With Pelosi at the helm, the House of Representatives passed a resolution on Wednesday, congratulating Liu Xiaobo on the award of the Nobel Prize and calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


China Cracks Down on Nobel Prize Security Ahead of Ceremony

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BEIJING) -- As Friday's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony gets underway, China is making no attempts to hide its feelings on the matter.

"Today in Norway's Oslo, there will be a farce staged: 'The Trial of China'," was the headline of the Global Times.  "Most nations' oppose peace prize to Liu," read the China Daily.

Since the prize was announced two months ago China has waged a campaign to discredit the award, and its recipient, jailed activist Liu Xiaobo.  It has suspended trade with Norway and sent diplomats across the world to strong-arm other nations into boycotting the event.

"The Chinese government is not happy that Liu Xiaobo is receiving this award, and that was to be expected," Minky Warden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, told ABC News.  "But the overreaction that we've seen from Beijing is really not worthy of a government that projects abroad as a strong, confident, growing, responsible power."

Restaurants have been told not to accept large reservations Friday night, for fear that Liu's supporters may gather to celebrate his win.  And the government has clamped down hard on media.  The websites for BBC and CNN have been blocked since Thursday, and all television reports on Liu or the Nobel prize are blacked out by censors.

Moreover, hundreds of people in China have been arrested, put under house arrest or blocked from leaving the country -- measures designed to stop them from trying to attend Friday's ceremony or talk to international media.  Among them, is Liu Xia, the wife of Liu Xiaobao, who has not been seen or heard from in almost two months.

It was one year ago that Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison for co-authoring a pro-democracy manifesto, called Charter '08.  But Liu has been a thorn in the side of Chinese authorities since his leading role in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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