2013-07-15 Edward Snowden nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Swedish sociology professor Stefan Svallfors revealed on Twitter yesterday that he has contacted the Nobel Committee in Norway, nominating Edward Snowden for the Peace Prize.

Svallfors' original Swedish language letter can be found at the news site of Västerbottens-kuriren. A rush translation follows.

To the Norwegian Nobel Committee:

Dear committee members!

I propose that the Peace Prize for 2013 be awarded the US citizen Edward Snowden.

Edward Snowden has - in a heroic deed and at great personal cost - revealed the existence and extent of the surveillance for which the US government has used electronic communications worldwide. By shining a light oh this surveillance programme - which is conducted in conflict with national legislation and international agreements - Edward Snowden has helped make the work a little bit better and safer.

Through his personal efforts, he has also shown that individual citizens can stand up for fundamental rights and freedoms. This is an important example as ever since the Nuremberg trials of 1945 it's been clear that the dismissal "I was only following orders" can never be used as an excuse for acts that violate human rights and freedoms. Despite this, it's highly unusual that individuals demonstrate the insight into their personal responsibility and the courage Edward Snowden has demonstrated in his exposure of the US surveillance programme. For even this reason he is an especially valuable candidate.

A decision to award the 2013 Peace Prize to Edward Snowden would, beyond being well motivated in itself, also help salvage the Peace Prize from the disrepute it suffered through the hasty and poorly considered decision to grant the 2009 award to US president Barack Obama. Such a decision would show the committee are prepared to stand up in defence of human rights and freedoms even when such defence is regarded unfavourably by the world's dominant military power.


Stefan Svallfors
Professor of Sociology, Umeå University

According to the will of Alfred Nobel, a prize is to be given to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".

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