SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A Japanese group seeking to preserve pacifism in the Asian nation’s constitution and Pope Francis, who has made the fight against poverty a focus of his tenure, are among the top contenders for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Other favorites include Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, Edward Snowden, the former American intelligence contractor who revealed secret surveillance programs, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who defied the Taliban, and Russian media outlets such as Novaya Gazeta, according to researchers. The winner will be announced Oct. 10 in Oslo by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
The Peace Research Institute in Oslo, which each year guesses on potential winners, has the “Japanese People Who Conserve Article 9” as its top pick in an updated list today. The group is working to keep Article 9, which prevents Japan from “belligerency,” as part of the nation’s constitution.
“We may have come to think of wars between states as virtually extinct after the end of the Cold War, but events in Ukraine and simmering tensions in East Asia remind us they may reappear,” PRIO said. “A return to a principle often hailed in earlier periods of the Peace Prize would be well timed.”
The prize, along with honors in literature, physics, medicine and chemistry, was created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel and first awarded in 1901. Laureates include last year’s winner, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, as well as the European Union, U.S. President Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa. All awards but the peace prize are handed out in Stockholm. The economics prize was instituted by the Swedish central bank.
Since his election in March 2013, Francis, 77, has pleaded for a reduction of inequalities on a global basis, including in a message to this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Snowden, 31, who was nominated for the prize by two Norwegian lawmakers from the Socialist Left Party, could win for revealing secret surveillance programs by the U.S. National Security Agency in 2013 even though the leaks remain controversial. Snowden, who was granted asylum by Russia as he faces prosecution in the US.
Mukwege, 56, is the founder of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, the capital of the war-plagued North Kivu province in eastern Congo. The institution specializes in the treatment of women victim of rape by rebel forces.
Yousafzai, the 17-year-old who was shot in the head for defending girls’ educational rights in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, was already regarded as a favorite last year. Historian Asle Sveen, who has written three books on the Nobel Peace Prize, sees her as this year’s top contender.