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EU not worthy to win Nobel Peace Prize, say three laureates

Archbishop Desmond Tutu won the prize in 1984 for his nonviolent struggle against apartheid.

Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images

Archbishop Desmond Tutu won the prize in 1984 for his nonviolent struggle against apartheid.

STOCKHOLM — Three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have contested the awarding of this year’s prize to the European Union, saying the 27-nation bloc contradicts the values associated with the prize because it relies on military force to ensure security.

In an open letter to the Nobel Foundation, Tutu of South Africa, Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland, and Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina demanded that the prize money of 8 million kronor ($1.2 million) not be paid out this year.

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The EU ‘‘clearly is not one of ‘the champions of peace’ Alfred Nobel had in mind’’ when he created the prize by including it in his will in 1895, they wrote in the letter, a copy of which was acquired by the AP on Friday. ‘‘We ask the board of the foundation to clarify that it cannot and will not pay the prize from its funds.’’

They said the EU condones ‘‘security based on military force and waging wars rather than insisting on the need for an alternative approach.’’

Tutu won the prize in 1984 for his nonviolent struggle against apartheid. Maguire was cited for seeking a peaceful resolution to the troubles in Northern Ireland in 1976, and 1980 winner Esquivel was honored for work in advancing human rights in Argentina.

The Norwegian Nobel award committee chose the EU for promoting ‘‘peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights’’ in Europe for six decades following the devastation of World War II.

The letter, dated Wednesday, said the bloc had failed ‘‘to realize Nobel’s global peace order . . . [and] the Norwegian Nobel Committee has redefined and reshaped the prize in a way that is not in accordance with the law.’’

It was also signed by the Geneva-based International Peace Bureau, which won the award in 1910, and several authors, lawyers, and peace activists.

Geir Lundestad, secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said the committee had encountered similar criticism before.

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