This year's Nobel Peace Prize draws hundreds of nominees

FILE PHOTO: View of the lectern at the Nobel Institute before committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen makes a short statement as part of the digital award ceremony for this year's peace prize winner, the UN's World Food Programme December 10, 2020. NTB/Heiko Junge via REUTERS

OSLO (Reuters) - Some 329 nominations have been received for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, likely reflecting the profusion of pressing human rights issues around the world, the secretary of the committee which awards the prize said on Monday.

"It is the third highest ever total number," Norwegian Nobel Committee Secretary Olav Njoelstad told Reuters. The record was 376 candidates, reached in 2016.

Of this year's total, some 234 are for individuals and 95 are for organisations.

"It reflects a lot of international interest in the Nobel Peace Prize," he said. "It probably also reflects that there are a number of unsolved conflicts, wars and human rights problems around the world."

The Norwegian Nobel Committee does not comment on who is nominated, but nominators, who range from members of parliaments worldwide to former winners, can choose to reveal their picks.

Russia's Alexei Navalny, the World Health Organization and Sweden's Greta Thunberg are among those nominated for this year's award, according to a Reuters survey of Norwegian lawmakers whose nominations have won in recent years.

The COVAX programme to secure fair access to COVID-19 vaccines for poor countries is also named, as is U.S. rights activist Stacey Abrams and Belarusian dissidents Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Maria Kolesnikova and Veronika Tsepkalo.

Reporters without Borders, the International Fact-Checking Network and the Committee to Protect Journalists are nominated too.

Also on the list are former U.S. president Donald Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Kushner's White House deputy, Avi Berkowitz, for their roles in brokering deals normalising relations between Israel and several Arab nations.

The five-strong committee held its first meeting on Friday, Njoelstad said. They will meet roughly once a month to discuss candidates before the 2021 laureate is announced in October.

(Editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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