By Alliance of Iranian Women staff
Two Norwegian parliamentarians have nominated human rights activists, Iranian Narges Mohammadi and Saudi Loujain al-Hathloul for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to them will show that the emphasis on respect for women’s rights goes beyond the religious and political lines that have divided the Middle East,” said Kari Anderson and Kari Elisabeth Kaski.
“Respect for women’s human rights in the absence of gender-based discrimination is the foundation of peaceful development in any country’s society,” the delegates wrote in a statement. “And now in areas of violence and tension, such as the Middle East, women’s participation on an equal footing with men helps reduce tensions.”
“Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to women on both sides of the sharpest line of tension in the Middle East, Iran and Saudi Arabia, would mean recognizing this foundation for peaceful coexistence, and these women in both of these countries are building this foundation by insisting that the entire population of their country should enjoy freedom and the right to participate.”
Narges Mohammadi was released from prison last October. She is the President of the National Council of Peace in Iran and Deputy Director of the Center for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) and had previously been sentenced to 16 years in prison on charges such as “propaganda against the regime and campaigning to abolish the death penalty.”
Loujain al-Hathloul was also imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for some time and has just been released. Ms. al-Hathloul, 31, was one of the women who worked for women’s right to drive and for women’s sovereignty over their own lives. The laws have changed during the past two years, but some activists remain in prison.
In recent weeks, the Nobel Women’s Initiative released this statement calling on the Islamic regime in Iran to unconditionally release Narges Mohammadi.
In the process of being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, various institutions and groups can nominate candidates for the prize, but such a nomination will only be considered after the participation of at least one member of the Norwegian Parliament.
Other Nobel Prizes are awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy, but the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is determined by the Nobel Peace Committee in Norway. The winner will be officially announced in the fall.