MOSCOW—The Hamshenuhi International Women’s Association recently announced that it is calling for individuals and organizations to officially nominate Garo Paylan for a 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. The organization has also submitted a letter to the Nobel Prize Committee, suggesting Paylan’s nomination as an individual who has “devoted his whole life to protection of the rights of Armenians and other indigenous populations in the region.”
“He is one of the few who has assumed the responsibility to protect humanitarian rights, the rights of indigenous people, religious and national minorities,” part of the association’s statement reads, adding that Paylan’s efforts come despite persistent threats and pressures by Turkish nationalists and extremist forces backed by Turkish authorities.
Founded in 2012, the Hamshenuhi International Women’s Association is a registered NGO that works to foster international cooperation of Hamshen Armenians and Armenian women.
Paylan is a founding member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party of Turkey (HDP) and is a deputy representing the third district in Istanbul. Paylan is also a member of Turkey’s Armenian community and has long been an activist on human rights and Kurdish and Armenian issues.
It is important to note that the association itself cannot nominate an individual or organization for the prize. Only those who are qualified to nominate can submit a nomination. Those include members of national assemblies and national governments and current heads of states; members of The International Court of Justice in The Hague and The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague; members of Institut de Droit International; university professors, professors emeriti, and associate professors of history, social sciences, law, philosophy, theology, and religion; university rectors and university directors; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes; persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; members of the main board of directors or its equivalent for organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; current and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; and former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The Norwegian Nobel Committee is also responsible for selecting the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.
Prior to being elected to Turkey’s parliament in 2015, Paylan served on the central committee of HDP and also served on the management of Armenian schools in Istanbul. He has long promoted bilingual education and minority rights in Turkey and has been actively engaged in raising awareness on discrimination toward minorities, the rights of the Armenian community in Turkey, Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, and especially the Hrant Dink murder case. Mr. Paylan is from a family originally from Malatya.
Three weeks after his first election into Turkey’s Parliament on the HDP list, Paylan spoke to the Armenian Weekly about his path to parliament and the challenges of being an Armenian in Turkey’s political scene.