Seán MacBride Peace Prize

Every year the IPB awards a special prize to a person or organisation that has done outstanding work for peace, disarmament and/or human rights. These were the principal concerns of Sean MacBride, the distinguished Irish statesman who was Chairman of IPB from 1968-74 and President from 1974-1985. MacBride began his career as a fighter against British colonial rule, studied law and rose to high office in the independent Irish Republic. He was a winner of the Lenin Peace Prize, and also the Nobel Peace Prize (1974) – awarded for his wide-ranging work, which included roles such as co-founder of Amnesty International, Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists, and UN Commissioner for Namibia. While at IPB he launched the Bradford Proposals on World Disarmament, which laid the ground for the first UN Special Session on Disarmament, held in 1978.

He also launched the MacBride Appeal against Nuclear Weapons, which gathered the names of over 11,000 international lawyers from all parts of the world, many of them at the very highest level. This effort paved the way for the World Court Project on nuclear weapons, in which IPB played a major role. This resulted in the historic 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Use and Threat of Nuclear Weapons. MacBride died in 1988, but the Prize was not established until 1992, IPB’s centenary year.

The award is decided by the IPB Steering Committee. IPB members are welcome to make suggestions and provide background documentation on potential candidates.

The Prize is a non-monetary one. In past years, it consisted of a medal cast by Quite Quiet, which is a Berlin-based label that was founded with the intention to create jewelry that people cherish and keep close for a long time. To create truly valuable pieces, Quite Quiet focuses on responsible material choices like fully traceable Fairtrade Gold and lab-grown gemstones.

IPB wishes to record its deep appreciation of the contribution made by the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and From War to Peace who have covered the production costs and made the arrangements for the medal every year since the inception of the Prize.

2023: The winners of this year award are champions of the right to conscientious objection, represented by a joint prize for three remarkable movements, and an individual peace advocate.

The first award is a shared prize for Our House, the Movement of Conscientious Objectors in Russia, and the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement.

  • Our House, a Belarusian civil society organization registered in Vilnius since 2014, is dedicated to defending human rights, particularly focusing on vulnerable groups, such as women and children.
  • Movement of Conscientious Objectors (MCO) or Движение Сознательных Отказчиков, a non-profit organization established in Russia around 2014, aids young individuals in legally avoiding conscription into the military.
  • Ukrainian Pacifist Movement from Ukraine established in 2019 by activists involved in peaceful protests against conscription in Kyiv, is a non-governmental, non-profit, and nonpartisan organization.

The second award is for Tore Nærland, an individual advocate for peace through his initiative “Bike for Peace,” embodies the transformative power of personal dedication to peace.

2022: Fred Lubang for his unflagging work and commitment towards peacebuilding, disarmament and non-violence, especially in the face of ongoing wars. Without him, the Philippines would not be the only country that has ratified nearly all humanitarian disarmament treaties today.

Asya Maruket & Yurii Sheliazhenko – two activists from Russia and Ukraine, whose common goal of a peaceful world seems more important today than ever before – for their work towards peace, women’s and human rights – showing us what commitment and bravery looks like in the face of unjust war.

Hiroshi Takakusaki for his lifelong dedication to a just peace, the abolition of nuclear weapons and social justice, as well as his care and unstinting support for the Hibakusha. While his ongoing involvemement with the Gensuikyo, he provided the vision, strategic thinking and dedication that fuelled Japan’s nationwide nuclear abolition movement, the international campaign for the abolition of nuclear weapons, and Gensuikyo’s yearly World Conference.

2021: Assistant Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) for their unwavering dedication, courage and diligence ensuring that every life taken by military during the country’s struggle to return the power to the right hands is properly documented –  in the face of threats due to the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021.

Alexander Kmentt for his dedication towards disarmament and the elimination of nuclear weapons, bringing these issues to the highest level of government and imploring decision makers to take notice and action and being one of the key architects to the Treaty on the Prohibiton of Nuclear Weapons.

2020: Black Lives Matter for its ‘leading roles in building resistance to and transforming local policies against systemic police violence and extrajudicial murders of Black people across the United States.’

The International Signature Campaign in Support of the Appeal of the Hibakusha for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons launched by Japanese organization HIDANKYOfor ‘being one of the largest signature campaigns ever carried out in the world and a powerful popular force manifesting global demands for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons’.

2019: Bruce Kent is an internationally known peace activist and a “real peace hero” who, even in his 90th year, remains an active campaigner and organizer for peace and human rights.

Elayne Whyte Gómez for her invaluable contribution to the completion of the historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nucler Weapons, and salute the work and dedication of this young woman in a key disarmament process where too less women have the opportunity to lead.

2018Association For Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR) and Home for Cooperation (H4C), for AHDR’s Board brilliant example of how productive cooperation, creative ideas, and respect can blossom, regardless of division and H4C´s extensive variety of cultural, artistic and educational programs with the aim to foster creativity and intercultural trust in Cyprus and internationally.

Helena Maleno for founding the association “Caminando Fronteras”, which is one of the main organizations at the southern European border devoted to denouncing human rights violations.

Douglas Roche, for his indefatigable work, in particular as President of the UN Association and as Ambassador for Disarmament during the height of the Cold War.

2017All Okinawa Coalition Against New Construction of Henoko Base, for its commitment to win the closure of the Futemna Marine Air Base and for its unremitting nonviolent opposition to the construction of a massive new base in Henoko.

Jeremy CORBYN, in recognistion of his sustained and powerful political work for disarmament and peace.

Noam CHOMSKY, in recognistion of his his tireless commitment to peace, his strong critiques to U.S. foreign policy, and his anti-imperialism

2016:  Colin ARCHER, IPB’s Secretary-General for 26 years.

2015:  The people and the island communities of Lampedusa (Italy) and Jeju Island (South Korea), in recognition of the profound commitment they have demonstrated to peace and social justice.

2014: The people and government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, in recognition of the legal case submitted by the RMI to the International Court of Justice, against all 9 states with nuclear weapons, for failure to honour their disarmament commitments.

2013: Private Chelsea MANNING, US whistleblower jailed for 35 years for revealing information about US war crimes. Sept 2013: Acceptance speech, photos + announcement here.

2012: Lina BEN MHENNI, Tunisian blogger and activist; and Nawal EL-SAADAWI, Egyptian feminist writer, activist, physician and psychiatrist. Award presented by Irish President Michael D Higgins (1st winner of the Prize) at a ceremony preceding IPB’s annual gathering, held inDublin, November 2012.

2011: Hanaa EDWAR, human rights activist, Iraq, and Peter BECKER, anti-nuclear lawyer, Germany. Awarded at IPB’s annual gathering, Potsdam,  Oct. 2011

2010: Binalakshmi NEPRAM, founder of Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and Secretary-General of Control Arms Foundation of India. Awarded at IPB’s Nobel-centenary conference, Oslo, Sept. 2010

2009: Betty REARDON, peace educator, USA. Awarded Nov. 2009 at the IPB’s annual conference in Washington D.C.

Jackie CABASSO, has been involved in (US) nuclear disarmament, peace and environmental advocacy on local, national and international level for over 25 years, awarded in Copenhagen.

Jayantha DHANAPALA, Sri Lankan Diplomat, awarded at Ceremony in Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Mayors for Peace Awarded in Helsinki to Tadatoshi AKIBA, Mayor of Hiroshima; and in Nagasaki to Iccho ITOH, Mayor Nagasaki (who was subsequently murdered).

No award made

2004: Leaders of the Geneva Initiative on the Middle East.

Nihon HIDANKYO, the Japanese hibakusha or survivors of the A bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. They have devoted the rest of their lives to the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Barbara LEE, only member of US Congress to vote against the war on Afghanistan.

Rosalie BERTELL, Canada-based public health advocate, scientist, author – who has put her professional skills at the service of victims of nuclear and other disasters. (Chernobyl, Bhopal etc).

Praful BIDWAI and Achin VANAIK, Indian journalists who have been at the forefront of the international campaign against the nuclearisation of South Asia. The IPB salutes their persistence, commitment and scholarly attention to detail which have earned their work wide acclaim.

Barbara GLADYSCH, Mothers for Peace, Germany, as a tribute to her outstanding and long-lasting commitment, both to disarmament and to practical solidarity with victims of war and disaster.

John HUME, a member of the European Parliament for consistantly advocating non-violent solutions in Northern Ireland. Subsequently awarded Nobel Peace Prize.

The Seeds of Hope Group, UK for disarming a Hawk aircraft bound for Indonesia.

Selim BESLAGIC, Mayor of Tuzla, Bosnia, a key proponent of a multi-ethnic solution to the Bosnian crisis.

The Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia, foremost among Russian citizens’ groups opposing the war in Chechnya.

Mordechai VANUNU, Israel, a former nuclear technician, sentenced to 18 years solitary confinement for revealing details of Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

Hilda LINI, Vanuatu, a former health minister who played a key role in the WHO’s decision to approve a request to the World Court on the legal status of nuclear weapons.

Michael D. HIGGINS, Ireland, human rights lawyer, President of Ireland since 11 November 2011.