Nobel Peace Prize recognizes Hunger as Weapon of War

The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme, “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.”

Gina Torry, Director of the International Center for Dialogue and Peacebuilding, told the Star Tribune:

In today’s conflicts, conventional weapons of war, such as guns and explosives, are no longer the only weapon of choice. Intentional starvation of civilian populations is a method and tactic of conflict used to achieve political and military objectives. We’ve seen this, for instance, in Syria, Yemen and Libya. Weaponized starvation exacerbates conflict and disproportionately harms women, children and the elderly.

The Nobel Committee also said “providing assistance to increase food security not only prevents hunger, but can also help to improve prospects for stability and peace,” noting:

The World Food Programme was an active participant in the diplomatic process that culminated in May 2018 in the UN Security Council’s unanimous adoption of Resolution 2417, which for the first time explicitly addressed the link between conflict and hunger. The Security Council also underscored UN Member States’ obligation to help ensure that food assistance reaches those in need, and condemned the use of starvation as a method of warfare.

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