Shortlist of nominations announced for 2017 Tipperary International Peace Award

Tipperary Star reporter

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Tipperary Star reporter

Shortlist of nominations announced for 2017 Tipperary International Peace Award

Presentations received this week from Tipperary Peace Convention members, Joe Quinn, Martin Quinn and John Shanahan, from last year's Award recipients, the Syrian Civil Defence White Helmets.

A shortlist of nominees for the 2017 Tipperary International Peace Award which includes the Irish Defence Forces Peacekeeping Mission, 17-year-old Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and renowned Kurdish humanitarian Dr. Widad Akreyi, was released today by the Tipperary Peace Convention.

Tipperary Peace Convention received nominations for the Award from organisations and from individuals and has now released the final shortlist of four nominees. This shortlist will be considered by the Peace Convention Committee over the next couple of weeks and the winner will be announced at the end of April.

The Tipperary Peace Award was founded in 1984 with the principal aim of giving recognition to those who promote the ideals of peace and peaceful co-operation in Ireland and across the World.

Previous recipients of the Award include the Former South African President the late Nelson Mandela, Live-Aid organiser Bob Geldof, Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, the late Benazir Bhutto, the late Senator Edward Kennedy and his sister Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, former Irish President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin, Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former US Secretary of State, John Kerry and last year’s recipients the Syrian Civil Defence White Helmets. The 2017 Award will be presented at a special ceremony in Tipperary at a date to be announced later this month.

The nominees are as follows:

Peacekeeping - Ireland has a proud tradition of participation in UN and UN-supported peacekeeping missions, both civilian and military and is the only nation to have a continuous presence on peace support operations since 1958. The largest deployment currently is with the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL). There are also Defence Forces troops deployed in the Golan Heights, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Western Sahara, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since 1978, a number of Defence Forces officers have also served in different positions at UNHQ, New York. In the past 15 years members of the Defence Forces have served with a number of missions which have been authorised by the UN and led by the EU or NATO.

Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian teenager whose angry altercation with an Israeli soldier outside her West Bank home made her a worldwide symbol of resistance, was sentenced in a military court recently to eight months in prison. Ahed has a substantial history of standing up against injustices, protesting against the theft of land and water by Israeli settlers and enduring personal sacrifices, having lost an uncle and a cousin to the occupation. Her parents and brother have been arrested time and again and her mother has been shot in the leg. Tamimi belongs to a second generation of Palestinian children who have grown up under conditions of occupation.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, became well known around the world for trying to end the long conflict in Colombia. In 2016, after a lot of negotiations, he announced a peace deal with the FARC militia, which had been at war with the Colombian Government since the 1960s. Santos was however forced to return to the drawing board with FARC negotiators after a referendum in October of that year rejected the initial deal. But he persevered, drafting and signing a new deal that incorporated changes suggested by the No camp and was ratified by the Colombian congress on 24 November 2016. He was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

Dr. Widad Akreyi is a renowned Kurdish humanitarian and human rights activist, known for her lobbying for three UN agreements and her outspoken opposition to the enslavement of women and girls in the Middle East. She helped to establish a secret working group against torture in Iraq, dedicated to collecting evidence of torture and other human rights abuses. She is the first woman born in the Middle East region and the youngest female human rights defender to engage in advocacy and lobbying activities related to illicit trade of small arms and light weapons and armed gender-based violence.

She was the recipient of the 2017 Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) Peace and Freedom Award for her lifelong commitment to peace and justice and human dignity for all.