Nobel’s Peace Prize Is Not a Human Rights Prize


Jan Oberg - Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research

Lund, Sweden October 10, 2014

The Nobel Committee Again Ignores Nobel’s Will

This prize is not a human rights or do-good prize

The two – excellent – people who are awarded the prize for 2014 have done great work for children’s rights but, unfortunately, human rights is not what Alfred Nobel sought to reward.

Therefore the Nobel Committee has, once again, violated the letter as well as the spirit of Nobel’s will.

The prize shall award reduction in military violence and end wars

Nobel wanted to reward “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” He also used the word “champions of peace”.

The Nobel Committee seems to have converted the prize into a “do-good prize”.

How uninventive – how non-daring!

Alfred Nobel – clearly – wanted to contribute to peace by reducing militarism and the capacity to kill.

That of course is much more controversial in today’s world which spend US$ 1700 million on the military and about 30 for all the UN system and 0,5 for peace.

This very year where wars rage at so many places, this committee is not able to find one or two people among the millions who fight against warfare – for instance civil society people, citizens who never touched a gun and keep their humanity!

Read Nobel’s will and you will see

It is time commentators, media people and others do the 5 min research work and read Nobel’s will – so we can get a debate about the gross, persistent misuse of Nobel’s intentions for other purposes than the one Nobel had in mind: to abolish militarism and thereby end warfare.

Change from an amateur to a professional committee

Furthermore, it can be doubted whether the Nobel Committee is composed correctly. The will states that the committee shall be established by the Norwegian Parliament; it does not say that it shall consist of members of it.

Most people do not know that the “experts” who decide who shall receive the peace prize are former politicians. In contrast to the other Nobel prizes, no one with professional expertise is involved.

Imagine that the prize in, say, medicine or literature was decided by pensioned MPs. Right, it was be absurd. So it is concerning the Peace Prize – for which reason it should not be considered prestigious before a) the Committee is changed and b) the will is respected.

Read more in Norwegian lawyer Fredrik Heffermehl’s book The Nobel Peace Prize. What Nobel Really Wanted .


TFF Director Prof. Jan Oberg is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment.

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