Former presidents Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk. Picture: Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)
Former presidents Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk. Picture: Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

It is impossible to revoke FW de Klerk's peace prize, says Nobel Foundation

By SIHLE MAVUSO Time of article published Feb 19, 2020

Share this article:

Durban - The Nobel foundation, the custodian of the Nobel peace prize which is awarded to outstanding global citizens, says it’s not possible to revoke FW de Klerk’s prize. 

The foundation awarded FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela a joint Nobel peace prize in 1993. 

Responding to a written query from Independent Media, the foundation said there was no way it could strip de Klerk of the prize. 

The calls to strip de Klerk, the last apartheid president, of the prize gained momentum from Thursday last week when the EFF disrupted the State Of the Nation Address (SONA) calling for him to be kicked after comments he made, that apartheid was not a crime against humanity. 

The party said de Klerk should be stripped of the award because he was an apartheid denialist and did not deserve to keep the award. 

Since then there have been growing calls to strip him of the prestigious prize. The calls came despite known publicly available information that the foundation does not revoke the prize once it has issued it. 

Independent Media asked the committee, given the sensitivity of the apartheid issue and having a former leader denying that it was crime against humanity as classfied by the UN in 1973, if they would heed the call. 

The foundation’s administration and information secretary, Kristin Asdal, said they could not do that.

“According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, §10, (section 10) it is not possible to revoke a Nobel Prize,” Asdal said and referred Independent Media to information posted on their website about the clause. 

Asdal further said they do not comment on utterances made by recipients of their prestigious prize. 

“As a matter of principle, the Norwegian Nobel Committee never comment upon what the Nobel Peace Prize laureates may say and do after they have been awarded the prize,” Asdal said. 

Independent Media had asked the foundation whether it was aware of the offensive remarks by de Klerk and if so, what can it say about them and if they were offensive to the foundation as well. 

Asdal did not respond to a question on whether or not they received formal written requests from people in South Africa or abroad asking them to strip de Klerk of the prize. 

De Klerk who has since apologised for the statement, is not the only global leader facing pressure to be stripped of his Nobel prize. 

Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar who was awarded the prize in 1991, is also facing similar calls. 

She is accused of presiding over a state that is committing genocide and that is aimed at wiping out the persecuted and stateless Rohinga population of south east Asia.

According to an August 30, 2018 news article carried by British newspaper, the Guardian, Olav Njoelstad, the secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said: “It’s important to remember that a Nobel prize, whether in physics, literature or peace, is awarded for some prize-worthy effort or achievement of the past. Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace prize for her fight for democracy and freedom up until 1991, the year she was awarded the prize.”

Political Bureau

Share this article:

Related Articles