For more information, including interviews with and footage of the White Helmets please contact James Turner: [email protected] / +44 7415 515368
Release: Syrian volunteer rescue group ‘The White Helmets’ nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
London, 11th August 2016
A Syrian volunteer rescue group known as ‘The White Helmets’ has been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace prize, it was announced today.
Formed in 2013, the White Helmets (also known as Syrian Civil Defence) have almost 3000 members across the country. The peaceful, impartial group works to rescue civilians trapped under rubble and has saved over 56,000 lives so far.
Amongst the high-profile list of nominators revealed today by The Syria Campaign is the British MP Jo Cox, who was murdered in June this year.
Responding to the nomination, the head of the White Helmets Raed Saleh said:
“Winning the Nobel Peace Prize could give a huge morale boost to our volunteers working inside Syria. It would help compensate for some of these sacrifices that they are making. We need to work together, all people of the world, all those oppressed, toward peace.
“We want a global spotlight on Syria, to create collective pressure on governments to stop the war and to end the killing of civilians with indiscriminate weapons like barrel bombs and the use of banned weapons like chlorine gas.”
The nomination comes at a time of extremely high activity for the organisation. In July 2016 they responded to 450 attacks in Aleppo alone — saving 500 lives in the process (1).
Anna Nolan, director of advocacy group The Syria Campaign said:
“Every day the White Helmets rush towards the bombs to save lives that others are trying so hard to take. Because of this, these brave volunteers are targeted – over 130 have been killed already.
“Winning the Nobel Peace Prize would show these lifesavers that the world is watching and supporting their work. With news of Syria dominated by ISIS and jihadi groups, there could be no better time to shine a light on this country’s heroes.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
– Data from the records of the Syria Civil Defense as delivered in testimony by Abdullah Nawlo to the UN Security Council on 8th August 2016
– The full list of nominators:
- Jo Cox was a British Member of Parliament, humanitarian and human rights advocate who was murdered in June 2016.
- Fred Kempe is President and CEO of the Atlantic Council, as well as a prize-winning former editor for the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of four books.
- Phillip S Khoury is the Ford International Professor of History and Associate Provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
- John Shattuck is the Rector of the Central European University. He is an international legal scholar and human rights leader.
- Bill Burns is president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was previously Ambassador to Russia, Deputy Secretary of State and Under Secretary for Political Affairs.
- Annika Rabo is a Professor of social Anthropology at the University of Stockholm. She has been published extensively, including a book on Syria.
- Lord Michael Williams, Ph.D, is a longtime diplomat and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Chatham House in London.
- Wendy Chamberlin is the President of the Middle East Institute. She is the former Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees and spent 29 years in the US Foreign Service.
- Richard John Grenville Spring, Baron Risby is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom and currently sits in the House of Lords.
- Daniel Serwer is As Professor and Director of the Conflict Management Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Anyone can be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, but only a number of people have the right to nominate, including members of national assemblies and governments, current and former members of the Committee, Peace Prize laureates, professors of certain disciplines, directors of peace research and foreign policy institutes, and members of international courts.
The winner of the Nobel peace prize will be announced on October 7th.