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Dhaka Tribune

Nobel Laureate from Northern Ireland endorses Myanmar activist for 2024 Peace Prize

Mairead Corrigan Maguire has nominated Dr Maung Zarni for the Nobel Peace Prize, recognizing his lifelong work of peace, democracy, and human rights

Update : 16 Apr 2024, 06:19 PM

Mairead Corrigan Maguire, a 1976 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, has nominated Burmese human rights activist Dr Maung Zarni for this year’s prestigious award. Forces of Renewal Southeast Asia (FORSEA) and Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC) jointly announced Maguire’s nomination, recognizing Zarni’s work over three decades.

Zarni, 60, is a UK-exiled Burmese human rights activist and genocide scholar, known for his decades-long work promoting democracy in Myanmar and supporting non-violent movements worldwide. Maguire specifically spoke highly of his activism for Tibet, East Timor, Palestine, and Rohingya rights.

Despite acknowledging the Nobel’s tarnished history, Zarni expressed his honour at being nominated by Maguire, as a radical anti-imperialist. He joins a prestigious list of her past nominees, including Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange.

Born into a military family under a dictatorship, he learned from his parents who led self-help communal initiatives. He pursued his education in the US to eventually become a professor, before devoting himself full-time to activism. 

Zarni, along with his wife, Dr Natalie Brinham authored a three-year study titled “The Slow-Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya,” published by the University of Washington School of Law in 2014.

Zarni is a co-founder of notable activist organizations like the Free Burma Coalition and the Free Rohingya Coalition. He presently serves as an advisor to Myanmar’s Karen National Union, the oldest ethnic resistance organization in the country.

The nomination places Zarni in the spotlight for his pursuit of peace and justice. Though the Nobel committee’s decision is yet to be announced, Zarni’s commitment to human rights has already garnered significant recognition.

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