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FAQ: Answers to your questions about CAAT’s Nobel Peace Prize nomination

We’ve had some great questions about CAAT’s and Mwatana for Human Rights’ Nobel Peace Prize nomination — here are answers to some of the most common queries.

Last updated 30 March 2021

Why have CAAT and Mwatana for Human Rights been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize?

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) have nominated Campaign Against the Arms Trade and Mwatana for Human Rights, a grassroots organisation working in Yemen, for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

The nomination aims to draw attention to CAAT’s work to stop the UK government’s sales of arms to Saudi Arabia, particularly our ongoing court case to challenge the UK government’s decision to resume arms sales to the Saudi regime for use in the war in Yemen.

As ASFC states in their nomination letter:

“The timing of this nomination is intended to draw attention to the Judicial Review being conducted in the UK about arms trading in Saudi Arabia, to support protests in the U.S. about renewed arms sales to the UAE, and to highlight the misery and suffering of the Yemeni people in the proxy war being conducted in their country.”

The AFSC and British Friends Service Council accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of Quakers worldwide in 1947, in recognition of 300 years of Quaker efforts to heal rifts and oppose war. This means they have the right to nominate others for the Prize and it’s a role they take very seriously with an annual deliberation process to decide who to nominate.

This nomination is a tribute to all of us. If you have ever signed a petition, come to a protest, shared on social media, written to your MP, made a donation, or taken any other action against the arms trade, you have helped to make this happen.

How can the nomination help CAAT’s campaigning?

First and foremost this is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the suffering of the Yemeni people who are experiencing the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. Millions are facing starvation as a direct result of the actions of the Saudi-led coalition. This is all made possible by weapons supplied by the UK and sustained by its ongoing military support.

Inspirational Yemeni groups like Mwatana have shown remarkable dedication in documenting human rights violations by all parties to the war and raising the voices of victims in exceptionally dangerous circumstances. As Radhya Almutawakel, chairperson of Mwatana, says:

“This nomination is a source of strength for Mwatana as we continue our work towards a Yemen where there is credible and holistic accountability and redress for the civilians who have suffered the horrors of this war.”

Oliver Robertson, the Head of Quaker Peace and Social Witness, also told us: “We hope this nomination will not only highlight the excellent work for peace by Mwatana and Campaign Against Arms Trade but encourage others to shut off the flow of armaments and instead work hard to build a sustainable peace in Yemen.”

The nomination raises the profile of CAAT’s work and increases our credibility with a range of people, groups and organisations we need to work with (and campaign against) to end the arms trade.

Does CAAT want to win?

Yes. If CAAT and Mwatana were to win the Nobel Peace Prize it would be another opportunity to force the global community to confront the suffering of the Yemeni people.

There are many other inspiring people and groups that have been nominated this year that would also be very deserving winners. This includes nominees working on issues that intersect with the arms trade, such as Black Lives Matter.

Whether we win or not, CAAT and our supporters will continue to call out the UK government and companies for their role in what’s happening in Yemen. We’ll do everything in our power to stop the sale of arms for use in the war and demand a renewed focus on securing peace.

What can I do to support CAAT’s nomination?

A winner is selected from a shortlist of nominees decided by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which is composed of five members appointed by the Norwegian parliament.

The best way to support CAAT’s nomination is to get involved with our campaigning and add your voice in support of peace in Yemen. Here are some ways you can take action:

There are a number of people who have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize that could be said to undermine global peace — doesn’t this discredit receiving a nomination?

CAAT does not support the views of all Nobel Prize nominees and winners. But this doesn’t diminish what the nomination means for CAAT’s and Mwatana’s work. We want to make the most of this opportunity to shine a spotlight on what’s happening in Yemen and the UK’s role in sustaining this conflict. There are also many past nominees and winners that have achieved incredible things. In general we are in very good company.

We have a deep respect for AFSC and QPSW, the two organisations that nominated us, and appreciate their endorsement. We are truly honoured that our campaigning is being acknowledged in this way and we proudly accept this nomination.

Wasn’t Alfred Nobel, the creator of the Nobel Prizes, an arms dealer?

Alfred Nobel was the inventor of dynamite, one of the most destructive technologies of his age.

It’s believed that a French journalist mistakenly wrote an obituary for Nobel when his brother died which included the headline “The merchant of death is dead”. This allegedly caused Nobel to reflect on his legacy.

Nobel left the lion’s share of his fortune to endow a new foundation that would award prizes to outstanding figures in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace every year — the Nobel Prizes.

The story of how the Nobel Peace Prize came to exist is a poignant reminder of the importance of CAAT’s nomination and our work to end the arms trade today.

Will you join CAAT in taking on the power and influence of the arms trade? If you haven’t already, please sign up for email updates from CAAT and we’ll send you all the latest anti-arms trade news and campaign actions. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you have any other questions about CAAT’s and Mwatana for Human Rights’ Nobel Peace Prize nomination, you can contact the CAAT team at enquiries@caat.org.uk.

CAAT would not exist without its supporters. Each new supporter helps us strengthen our call for an end to the international arms trade.

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