The Nobel Committee has a longer tradition of honoring anti-nuclear activism Your editorial on the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize (“The Guardian view on the new peace laureates: a better bet”) welcomes the award to International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) as a global civil society movement, and highlight this as a change from honoring politicians. However, the claim that the Nobel Peace Prize committee rarely engages with the nuclear issue is questionable, and the claim that “only once before”, to the Pugwash Conferences in 1995, “has the prize been awarded to an explicitly anti-nuclear campaign” is clearly incorrect. The 1985 peace prize was awarded to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), and Alva Myrdal and Alfonso García Robles were given the award in 1982 for their work on nuclear weapons free zones. Moreover, there have been many awards to civil society organizations with a transnational presence, including the 1977 award to Amnesty International. Perhaps some of these awards may not be remembered as vividly as some of the infamous awards to statesmen such as Henry Kissinger, but this is not because the committee has not honored anti-nuclear campaigns or civil society organizations.
The Guardian published an editorial on 6 October claiming that the Nobel Prize had “only once” honored anti-nuclear activism, and suggested that giving the award to a transnational civil society organization was a departure for the award.
I submitted a letter to the Guardian on how the first statement is clearly incorrect, and the second is debatable; Moreover, this could easily be verified by checking the information on previous winners, available directly from the Nobel Institute in Oslo here.
The Guardian did not respond to the letter and no correction has been published, so I will “self-publish” here.