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Burmese Activist Nominated for Peace Prize

The renowned Northern Irish peace activist Mairead Corrigan Maguire (herself recipient of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize) has nominated the UK-exiled Burmese human rights activist and genocide scholar Dr Maung Zarni for the prestigious prize.

On the eve of the Burmese traditional New Year this week, the Forces of Renewal Southeast Asia (FORSEA) and the Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC) jointly announced Maguire’s nomination, based on Zarni’s “impactful and tireless activism for peace and harmony among human communities over three decades”.

Maguire’s nomination letter to the Nobel committee highlighted Zarni’s activism both for democracy in Myanmar and for “non-violence campaigners for peace and freedom from Tibet, East Timor (now Timor Leste), Nigeria, India, Thailand, Palestine and the Jewish diaspora”.

While Zarni says that the Nobel prize “has been deeply tarnished” by some awards, “of which the late Henry Kissinger was only the most infamous”, he adds, that “as a radical anti-imperialist, I am most proud to be Maguire’s choice”.

Mairead Maguire has long been a champion of anti-imperialist causes, including standing up for Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, the oppressed Palestinians and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Among her past nominees are Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange.

Marilyn Langlois, fellow member of Johan Galtung’s TRANSCEND network wrote:“Zarni became part of our family when he came to the US in 1988, and drew my daughter and me into his pioneering activism with the Free Burma Coalition, opposing military dictatorship in his home country, a few years later.  Ever since then, he has been a teacher and role model for me in advocacy for positive peace–not just the absence of war but affirming the dignity and self-determination of all people suffering the ravages of oppression and structural violence.”

Dr Helen Jarvis (Cambodia), Vice-President of the Permanent People’s Tribunal, and recipient of the 2021 Lifetime Award from the International Association of Genocide Scholars says:“Forthright and unabashed straightforwardness mixed with compassion were the characteristics that first struck me, when in 2013 in Bremen, Germany, I worked with Zarni as a fellow judge on the Second People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka. Over the past decade I have been proud to work alongside him in many different campaigns, witnessing his continued principled commitment to stand the oppressed of this earth in the fight for freedom and justice.”

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