Norwegian MP Petter Eide said in his nomination papers that the movement had forced countries outside the U.S. to grapple with racism within their own societies.
In the statement, Eide said: “I find that one of the key challenges we have seen in America, but also in Europe and Asia, is the kind of increasing conflict based on inequality. Black Lives Matter has become a very important worldwide movement to fight racial injustice."
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Eide, who has previously nominated human rights activists from Russia and China for the prize, said one other thing that impressed him about the Black Lives Matter movement was the way “they have been able to mobilize people from all groups of society, not just African-Americans, not just oppressed people, it has been a broad movement, in a way which has been different from their predecessors.”
“They have had a tremendous achievement in raising global awareness and consciousness about racial injustice,” Eide continued.
The Black Lives Matter movement, co-founded in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, was a response to the acquittal in the U.S. of the man who shot Trayvon Martin. The movement gained broader recognition in 2014 following protests over Michael Brown and Eric Garner's deaths. It was the wellspring of a series of global protests in 2020 following George Floyd and Breonna Taylor's deaths.
Nominations for the Nobel peace prize are accepted from any politician serving at a national level who are allowed 2,000 words to make their case.
The deadline for this year’s submission is February 1, and by the end of March, the committee will prepare a shortlist. The winner will be chosen in October, and the award ceremony is scheduled for December 10.
Of the more than 300 nominations for last year’s award, the World Food Programme ultimately won.
However, Eide said he didn’t want his nomination for Black Lives Matter to be seen as a comment on domestic U.S. politics. And he rejected criticism from right-wing groups stating that BLM perpetrated violence in U.S. cities.
“Studies have shown that most of the demonstrations organized by Black Lives Matter have been peaceful,” he said. “Of course, there have been incidents, but most of them have been caused by the activities of either the police or counter-protestors.”
Data compiled by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project in September 2020 showed that 93% of Black Lives Matter demonstrations involved no severe harm to people or property.
The 61-year-old politician, who has represented the Socialist Left party in parliament since 2017, cited precedents of the Oslo-based Nobel prize committee recognizing the battle against racism.
Albert Luthuli and Nelson Mandela both received the prize in 1960 and 1993 respectively for fighting against racial discrimination in South Africa, and Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the prize for non-violent resistance against racism in the U.S. in 1964.
Eide wrote: “There is actually a tradition for doing this. It’s a strong linkage between anti-racism movements and peace, and a recognition that without this kind of justice, there will be no peace and stability in the society.”
Eide concludes his nomination by stating: “Awarding the peace prize to Black Lives Matter, as the strongest global force against racial injustice, will send a powerful message that peace is founded on equality, solidarity and human rights and that all countries must respect those basic principles.”