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Trump, Pope Francis among Nobel Peace Prize nominees

STAVANGER, Norway -- A woman who champions the rights of ISIS rape victims, Pope Francis, the Afghan women's cycling team and Donald Trump are reportedly among the candidates for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.

The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee typically receives more than 200 nominations for the prestigious prize, and keeps candidates secret for 50 years. Panel members can make their own nominations during their first judging meeting on Feb. 29.

Yazidi villagers describe ISIS atrocities 03:02

Norwegian lawmaker Audun Lysbakken nominated Nadia Murad, a Yazidi who escaped from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) sexual slavery to become a spokeswoman for those abused by the group's militants.

"We want a peace prize that can awaken the world to the fight against sexual violence as a weapon of war," Lysbakken, the leader of Norway's Socialist Left Party, said in a statement.

He has also nominated the Congolese surgeon Denis Mukwege, who treats victims of sexual violence in that nation's civil war.

In December, Murad told the U.N. Security Council how she and thousands of other Yazidi women and girls were abducted, held in captivity and repeatedly raped after the Iraqi province of Sinjar fell to ISIS in August 2014. She escaped after three months in captivity.

Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu has given his backing to Pope Francis, as well as the economist Herman Daly and The Club of Rome think-tank for their "significant contributions to global understanding of sustainable development."

The Afghani women's cycling team has been nominated by 118 Italian lawmakers to promote "the most democratic means of transportation for all mankind."

Olav Njoelstad, the non-voting secretary to the Nobel judging panel, said qualified nominators -- including lawmakers of national parliaments and former winners -- often submit their candidates at the very last minute, with new names pouring in throughout the deadline day, which was Monday this week. Any nomination postmarked before February 2 will be considered.

It was not clear who might have submitted the nomination for U.S. Republican presidential candidate and billionaire businessman Donald Trump.

Nobel watcher Kristian Berg Harpviken, the director of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, told the French news agency AFP that he had received a copy of the nomination letter, suggesting Trump -- who drew criticism from around the world for his vow to ban Muslims entering the United States -- should be awarded the prestigious prize for "his vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China".

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