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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Nobel Peace Prize: Who were the last five winners and what happened next?

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This year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner is set to be announced on Friday.

There have been 101 Peace prizes since it was first awarded in 1901 and a total of 135 laureates as in 32 instances it was shared by two or three people.

The youngest ever laureate was Malala Yousafzai, who received it at just 17. Yousafzai is just one of 17 women to have been awarded the prize in its history.

Here’s a refresher of who won the Nobel Peace Prize over the previous five years.

2020: World Food Programme

Last year, the coveted prize went to the United Nations’ World Food Programme “for its effort to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”.

The Nobel jury flagged that the organisation had provided assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries in 2019 and that the COVID-19 pandemic had contributed to a “strong upsurge” in the number of victims of hunger in the world.

2019: Abiy Ahmed Ali

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister was awarded the prize for “his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea”.

For the past year, Abiy Ahmed has waged a war against regional forces in Tigray, which both sides blame on each other.

Since the conflict erupted in November 2020, there have been reports of human rights violations from both sides, thousands of civilian casualties and warnings that a “humanitarian catastrophe” is underway with at least 400,000 living in “famine-like conditions”, according to the UN.

Abiy Ahmed was sworn in for a second term as Ethiopian leader earlier this week.

2018: Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad

The two were rewarded for “their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict”.

Mukwege, 66, is a Congolese gynaecologist, surgeon and founder of the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where thousands of victims of sexual violence during armed conflicts have been treated.

He has been relentless in his work, despite attempts on his life and earlier this month, as world leaders prepared to gather at a UN summit in New York, he reiterated his plea for an “international criminal tribunal” to be set up to investigate war crimes in his native country.

Murad, 28, is an Iraqi Yazidi human rights activist. When she was 19, the so-called Islamic State ransacked her village, killing 600 Yazidi men, including several members of her family. Murad and other young women were taken prisoner and subjected to beatings and rape. She eventually escaped, fled to a refugee camp and was later offered asylum in Germany.

Since her award, she has continued to shed light on the plight of Yazidi women and reiterated calls for justice as dozens of Zaxidi women and children remain unaccounted for.

2017: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

The organisation received the award for “its work drawing attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”

The Nobel Committee praised ICAN for pressuring governments worldwide to pledge to cooperate to stigmatise and prohibit nuclear weapons.

2016: Juan Manuel Santos

The then-President of Columbia was chosen as the laureate for “his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end”.

Santos, 70, started negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army (FARC) in 2012 and reached a cease-fire deal in June 2016. The peace agreement — which planned for leniency towards former FARC fighters — was however narrowly defeated in a referendum later that year.

The Nobel Committee said it had decided to award the prize to Santos despite the referendum’s results “to encourage continued dialogue and struggles for peace and reconciliation.”

Santos was voted out in 2018 with Ivan Duque, a critic of the peace deal, voted in.

According to Amnesty International, crimes under international law and human rights violations and abuses in the context of the continuing internal armed conflict increased last year.

The NGO also said that Colombia “was the most dangerous country in the world for environmental defenders”, flagging that by August there had been 97 documented killings of human rights defenders and 45 verified homicides.

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