Colombia peace deal architects favourite to win Nobel Prize

The 2014 record of 278 nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize has been broken with 376 nominations submitted in 2016.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A golden medallion with an embossed image of Alfred Nobel.

The architects of a historic peace accord aimed at ending Americas' longest running war – between the Colombian Government and the FARC rebel group – are favourites to win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. 

The 2014 record of 278 nominations for the peace prize set has been broken with 376 nominations submitted in 2016.

The peace prize will be the most closely watched award at this year’s ceremonies, with experts, online betting sites and commentators all placing the Colombian Government and leftist FARC rebels high on their lists of possible laureates.

Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege – who helps victims of rape, negotiators of the Iran nuke deal Ernest Montiz of the US and Ali Akbar Salehi of Iran, and US whistleblower Edward Snowden are some of the other names who were nominated.

Dan Smith, Head of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez would make worthy winners this year.

"My hope is that today's Nobel Committee in Oslo is inspired by their predecessors' decision to award the 1993 prize to Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk, architects of the peaceful end of apartheid," he told AFP.

That prize came "at a time when the outcome of the transition was uncertain, and with the aim of encouraging all parties to a peaceful outcome, and it succeeded."

Although Santos and Jimenez signed the deal after four years of negotiations on Monday, it will only be ratified after an October 2 referendum on the accord.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez sign a historic peace accord.

Although his colleague at Oslo’s Peace Research Institute, Kristian Berg Harpviken, agreed with Smith, his first choice was Gannushkina.

Bringing down the final curtain on Gannushkina’s decades-long struggle for the rights of refugees and migrants in Russia would send a strong message at a time when "refugee hosting is becoming alarmingly contentious across the West" and would also "draw attention to the problematic record of the current Russian leadership," Harpviken said.

Svetlana Gannushkina took part in a series of one-person pickets outside the Ministry of Justice in Moscow. She was protesting against accusations made against Memorial Human Rights Centre by the ministry.

The Nobel Prize in Literature will also be closely watched, with such names as Japan's Haruki Murakami – who tops betting sites again this year – as well as Syrian poet Adonis, Kenyan novelist Ngugi wa Thiong'o and US authors Don DeLillo, Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates having been nominated.

The 2016 Nobel Prizes kick off with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on October 3 and conclude with the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel on October 10.

AFP, TRTWorld and agencies