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This article was published 11/2/2016 (555 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A group in the running for a Nobel Peace Prize is giving some of the credit for its nomination to the work of a Winnipeg human rights lawyer.
Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) said it’s been nominated for the esteemed prize for drawing attention to dubious organ-transplantation practices in China.
The global group representing 7,000 doctors, nurses and others credits Winnipeg human rights lawyer David Matas for raising awareness and leading the charge against harvesting the organs of prisoners in China.
"He did a phenomenal job explaining it to lay people and physicians,’ said Dr. Damon Noto in Hackensack, N.J.
The spokesman for DAFOH said he got involved several years ago after reading an article about the work of Winnipeg’s Matas and former MP David Kilgour investigating forced organ donation in China. A little while later, it hit closer to home, Noto said.
"I had a friend at the hospital I worked at whose patient came back from China where he received an organ transplant. He confessed it was most likely from an executed prisoner.’
Matas’s research backed up such stories and drew international attention to human rights abuses.
The lawyer was able to look at the raw data coming out of China with regard to organ transplants and how many organs were plausibly from ethical donations, said Noto.
"He did an amazing job of highlighting the amount of unethical transplant happening.’
Matas has written books and papers and given talks around the world on the subject, said Noto, whose organization has invited Matas to speak at rallies and forums. His work was featured in the Peabody Award-winning film Human Harvest, and Matas was previously nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize with Kilgour.
Thousands of people around the world are allowed to make nominations for the Peace Prize. The Nobel Institute accepts all valid nominations. Getting one’s name on the list isn’t necessarily a badge of honour. Donald Trump was reportedly nominated earlier this year.
The five members of the panel that selects the laureate are also allowed to put forward their own nominations when they hold their first meeting Feb. 29.
Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting is happy to get the publicity from this year’s prize nomination, said Noto. "It gets the word out about what’s happening in China with forced organ donation and transplants,’ he said.
"They’ll keep on doing it until someone makes them look so bad they’ll stop.’