OSLO: A Norwegian politician said on Thursday that he has nominated the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, embroiled in a controversy over the alleged involvement of employees in the Oct 7 raid on Israel, for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Labour MP Asmund Aukrust told the Dagbladet newspaper he had nominated the UN Relief and Works Agency “for its long-term work to provide vital support to Palestine and the region in general”.
“This work has been crucial for over 70 years, and even more vital in the last three months,” said the politician, who is vice chairman of the Norwegian parliament’s foreign affairs committee.
Over a dozen countries, including major donors the United States, Germany, Britain and Sweden, have suspended funding to the UN agency over accusations that 12 staff members were involved in the Hamas raid on Israel.
Being nominated for the Peace Prize does not represent recognition by the Nobel Committee, which receives hundreds of nominations every year.
Thousands of people are eligible to submit nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, including lawmakers and cabinet members of all countries, former laureates and some university professors, before the Jan 31 deadline.
In line with Nobel statutes, the identity of the candidates is kept confidential for 50 years, but those who have submitted nominations are free to reveal their pick.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) last week said that Israel must prevent genocide and allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. The Palestinian rights organisation Al Haq and Israel’s B’Tselem have also been nominated.
Other names reported by media outlets include former US president Donald Trump, who is hoping to return to the White House this year, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg, the UN refugee agency UNHCR, Pope Francis, Colombian president Gustavo Petro and the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
The Norwegian Nobel Committee announce the winner in October.
Last year, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to imprisoned Iranian woman’s rights activist Narges Mohammadi “for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran”.