Laureates of 2015 Right Livelihood Awards announced

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Who: Laureates of 2015 Right Livelihood Awards
Where: Helsiniki, Sweden
What: Announced
When: 1 September 2015
Why: In recognition of their work in promoting peace and human rights

Laureates of 2015 Right Livelihood Awards were announced on 1 October 2015. Tony de Brum & the People of the Marshall Islands, Sheila Watt-Cloutier (Canada), Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera (Uganda) and Gino Strada & his organisation ‘Emergency’ (Italy) were chosen for the prestigious award that is also known as Alternative Nobel Prize.

While Tony de Brum & the People of the Marshall Islands is the honorary recipient, the other three awardees will share the 200000 euro prize money.

Contributions of Awardees

Tony de Brum & the People of the Marshall Islands

The award was conferred in recognition of their vision and courage to take legal action against the nuclear powers for failing to honour their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Tony de Brum, as Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, took the unprecedented step of filing lawsuits against all nine nuclear weapons states in the International Court of Justice in 2014, seeking to hold them to account for their failure to abide by the provisions of NPT.

He was also architect of the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership, adopted in September 2013, under which commitment of Pacific Island States to adopt concrete measures to combat climate change was secured.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier

The Canadian was recognised for her lifelong work to protect the Inuit of the Arctic and defend their right to maintain their livelihoods and culture, which are acutely threatened by climate change.

Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska.

As an elected representative of her people, administrator and advocate, Watt-Cloutier significantly contributed to an overhaul of the education system in Nunavik in Northern Quebec to make it more effective in meeting the needs of Inuit communities.

She was an influential force behind the adoption of the Stockholm Convention to ban persistent organic pollutants, which accumulate strongly in Arctic food chains.

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera

The Ugandan was selected for her courage and persistence, despite violence and intimidation, in working for the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people to a life free from prejudice and persecution.

Operating within a hostile and repressive environment, Nabagesera has shed light on human rights violations, and has successfully used the judicial system to advance LGBTI rights.

Gino Strada & Emergency

The Italian was selected for his great humanity and skill in providing outstanding medical and surgical services to the victims of conflict and injustice, while fearlessly addressing the causes of war.

From Afghanistan to Sudan, EMERGENCY, the organisation that he co-founded in 1994, runs over 60 hospitals, clinics and first aid posts, operating with the aim of transferring medical knowledge and expertise to local health service professionals.

He also played a leading role in the successful campaign that resulted in Italy banning the production and use of antipersonnel landmines in 1997.

About Right Livelihood Award

• It was established in 1980 by German-Swedish philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull, and is presented annually in early December in Swedish Parliament.
• The award was given to honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.
• The prize money is shared among the winners, usually numbering four, and is 200000 euros. Very often one of the four laureates receives an honorary award, which means that the other three share the prize money.
• Though they are called as Alternative Nobel they do not have any organizational ties to the awarding institutions of the Nobel Prize or the Nobel Foundation