Groups working to protect democracy nominated for Nobel Peace Prize by Quakers
Quakers in Britain and America have nominated coalitions in the USA and Kenya for their work in building democracy for the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize.
Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) and the American Friends Service Committee have nominating rights after winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 for their work during and after the two world wars.
This year they have chosen:
- Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), which campaigns for the rights of citizens disenfranchised after imprisonment
- National Council of Churches in Kenya (NCCK), which works to support the holding of peaceful, free, fair, and credible elections.
The organisations were chosen for supporting the human right to representation by government and working towards a better organized and peaceful world.
Quakers hope this nomination will draw attention to threats to democracy, from voter suppression to interference with elections, which particularly impact those most affected by contemporary crises.
The voices of the poor and those bearing the brunt of climate change need to be heard- Oliver Robertson, Quakers in Britain
Oliver Robertson, head of QPSW, said: “Quakers have always believed that everyone has value, and nobody's insights should be discounted. The voices of the poor and those bearing the brunt of climate change need to be heard and effective democratic processes enable this to happen. That is why we have nominated these two organisations for the Nobel Peace Prize."
Rev. Canon Chris Kinyanjui, the NCCK General Secretary, said they were excited and humbled by the nomination for NCCK which was founded in 1913 and is made up of Christian churches and organisations (including Quakers).
NCCK works for Kenyans through broadening democratic space, access to education, rehabilitation of soldiers and speaking out against state violence.
Through the work of FRRC in Florida, the state constitution was amended to restore the voting rights of over 1.4 million Floridians with past felony convictions.
“We are humbled and grateful to be given this distinguished nomination," said Desmond Meade, Executive Director of FRRC.
“We hope it will amplify our efforts to demonstrate the power of love and second chances and show how we can strengthen our society by empowering the most marginalized among us."
For QPSW, this nomination also results from concerns about local threats to democracy, including the Election Act 2022, which will disproportionately disenfranchise poorer and more marginalised communities, and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, which undermines the right to protest, suppressing dissent and weakening government accountability.