Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, the World Health Organization and climate campaigner Greta Thunberg are among the nominees for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, all of whom are backed by Norwegian lawmakers who have proven to have selected the winner.
Thousands of people, from members of parliament around the world to former winners, are eligible to propose candidates. Nominations that close on Sunday do not imply endorsement by the Nobel Committee.
The Norwegian legislature has nominated the eventual winner every year since 2014 with the exception of 2019, said Henrik Urdal, director of the Oslo Peace Research Institute. “The pattern over the last few years is pretty impressive.”
The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which decides who will win the award, does not comment on nominations and keeps the names of nominees and unsuccessful nominees secret for 50 years.
But the nominators can disclose their choices.
According to a Reuters poll of Norwegian lawmakers, nominees include Thunberg, Navalny, WHO and their COVAX program to ensure fair access to COVID-19 vaccines for poor countries.
Thunberg has been described as one of the “leading speakers in the fight against the climate crisis”. The “Fridays for the Future” campaign group, which she co-founded, also received a nod.
Navalny, nominated by Russian scientists, was named by Norwegian former minister Ola Elvestuen after his “efforts to democratize Russia peacefully”.
The fight against COVID-19 takes center stage, including a nomination for the GAVI Vaccine Alliance.
Other names include Belarusian activists Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Maria Kolesnikova and Veronika Tsepkalo for their “struggle for fair elections and inspiration for peaceful resistance,” said one nominator, Geir Sigbjoern Toskedal.
Another, Jette Christensen, also mentioned the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a human rights group, and IUSTITIA, a group of Polish judges who defend civil rights.
“My nomination this year is … for the fight to preserve democracy as a form of government in Europe,” said Christensen.
Freedom of information is a recurring theme among nominees, including the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists. former Charlie Hebdo journalist Zineb el Rhazoui; Hong Kong Free Press news website, the US-based International Fact-Checking Network, and Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Other candidates are former US President Donald Trump, NATO and the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Aminatou Haidar is also on the list for her peaceful campaign for an independent Western Sahara, the International Space Station and the International Scout Movement.
The 2021 winner will be announced in October.
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