NEWS » Lampedusa nominated for Nobel Prize for Peace in 2014

Lampedusa nominated for Nobel Prize for Peace in 2014

Lampedusa has been officially nominated for the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2014. The Italian magazine the “Espresso” launched a petition to candidate the island immediately after the shipwreck of October the 3rd and collected 55,650 signatures through the internet.   

The aim is to give recognition to the solidarity shown over the years by the inhabitants of the island, but also to the suffering that the refugees and the survivors have had to face up to, and to the thousands of people who have been drowned: 20 thousand in twenty years, 640 between the 30th of September and October the 11th, 2013, of which at least a hundred were children.

The nomination for the Nobel Prize of Lampedusa is a message of hope for the human rights, and for the respect of the law in the Mediterranean.     The application has been formalized a few days ago, on January the 31st, by the writer Elisabeth Eide, Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Oslo and Akershus, one of the Norwegians entitled to submit proposals to the Committee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Since the prize cannot be assigned generally to the inhabitants of a country or refugees who reach it, it has been suggested the municipality of Lampedusa as the institution that best represents both residents and newcomers, regardless of the political inclination of the administration in charge.

The Nobel Committee, consisting of five persons appointed by the Norwegian Parliament, will review the nominations in the coming months and in October will reveal the name of the winner. On December the 10th, the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the award will be assigned during the prestigious ceremony in Oslo.

The application for the Nobel price of Lampedusa, is obviously not the solution to avoid more bloodshed. But it can be a warning and an opportunity to draw the world's attention to the immigration emergency affecting the Mediterranean area. The Member States of the European Union in fact guarantee the protection of refugees, but only if they are already on their territory. The European law prohibits the admission of refugees, even if they are women and children, even if they are fleeing from regimes like the one in power in Eritrea, or massacres like the one going on in Syria. The only way of salvation is thus illegal routes that enrich the criminal organizations. 

Little or nothing has been done by the European parliaments, let alone Brussels, to prevent other deaths. Lampedusa is not only the gateway to Europe, it is a safe harbour. The inhabitants of Lampedusa in all these years have shown solidarity and support to the immigrants, in spite of the difficulties they have had to face up to. For this they represent a unique example of humanity and solidarity.  

Giulia Lombardo

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