Jan Tore Sanner

Stortingspolitiker for Høyre

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Norwegian MPs nominate Oswaldo Payá for the Nobel Peace Prize

A group of 7 Norwegian Members of Parliament has nominated the Cuban Oswaldo Payá for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. – The Nobel Prize to Cuba’s most important oppositional leader would be an important contribution to peace and democracy to a people who have been denied their fundamental human rights for far too long, the MPs write in their nomination letter.

 

Through nearly two decades Oswaldo Payá has been the leading figure in a peaceful struggle for basic human rights in Cuba. Oswaldo Payá represents all Cubans who want a peaceful change based on reconciliation and dialogue.

 

– We believe the Nobel Peace Prize would send a strong signal to the Cuban government that it is time for change, says Dagrun Eriksen, deputy leader of the Christian Democratic Party and one of the signatories.

 

Oswaldo Payá has built his work on the conviction that all human beings have inviolable rights. He believes that the right to freedom of speech is the basis on which to solve all other problems in society. Only when the people themselves can express their concerns, Cuba will be able to find its own way out of the country’s challenges.

 

- Oswaldo Payá recognizes that freedom of speech and respect for fundamental human rights is a precondition for a peaceful development, says Jan Tore Sanner, deputy leader of the Conservative Party, one of the other signatories.

 

Oswaldo Payá has consistently tried to work within the frames of Cuban law, through petitions calling for the respect for basic human rights. When the Varela project succeeded in collecting enough signatures to set of a referendum in 2002, the Cuban regime’s response, however, was to arrest 75 oppositional leaders, in what became known as the Black Spring.

 

Last spring, Mr Sanner and Mrs Eriksen took the initiative to form a support group for Cuban political prisoners in the Norwegian Parliament, including MPs from all the Norwegian parties. Following the release of more than 40 prisoners into forced exile last summer, 19 of them wrote a letter to the group, proposing that they nominate Oswaldo Payá for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

 

- The support from the former prisoners of conscience shows how Oswaldo Payá has succeeded in gathering different groups off dissidents in dialogue and peaceful resistance, says Dagrun Eriksen.

 

Jan Tore Sanner was one of the nominators behind last year’s winner Liu Xiabo.

 

- Oswaldo Payá represents the same peaceful struggle for human rights as Liu Xiabo, says Mr Sanner.

 

Payá has continued to call for unity and dialogue between all Cubans, in and outside the country. His National Dialogue program and All Cubans Forum, has involved thousands of Cubans in discussions on proposals for a peaceful change towards democracy. Payá is now again calling for a referendum on basic human rights.

 

- Oswaldo Payá would be a worthy winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, say Dagrun Eriksen and Jan Tore Sanner.

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