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Friday, October 15, 1999 Published at 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK

World: Europe

Nobel peace prize - full statement

The following is the full text of the statement by the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Medecins Sans Frontieres.

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Price for 1999 to Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres), in recognition of the organisation's pioneering humanitarian work on several continents.

"Since its foundation in the early 1970s, Doctors Without Borders has adhered to the fundamental principle that all disaster victims, whether the disaster is natural or human in origin, have a right to professional assistance, given as quickly and efficiently as possible.

[ image: Committee chairman Francis Sejersted makes the announcement]
Committee chairman Francis Sejersted makes the announcement
"National boundaries and political circumstances or sympathies must have no influence on who is to receive humanitarian help.

"By maintaining a high degree of independence, the organisation has succeeded in living up to these ideals.

"By intervening so rapidly, Doctors Without Borders calls public attention to humanitarian catastrophes, and by pointing to the causes of such catastrophes, the organisation helps to form bodies of public opinion opposed to violations and abuses of power.

"In critical situations, marked by violence and brutality, the humanitarian work of Doctors Without Borders enables the organisation to create openings for contacts between the opposed parties.

At the same time, each fearless and self-sacrificing helper shows each victim a human face, stands for respect for that person's dignity, and is a source of hope for peace and reconciliation."

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