COPENHAGEN – The Right Livelihood Award Foundation awarded on Thursday the so-called “Alternative Nobel” this year to the people of the Marshall Islands and their foreign minister, Tony de Brum; the Canadian Sheila Watt-Cloutier, the Ugandan Kasha Nabagesera and Italian Gino Strada.
The jury recognized Watt-Cloutier’s struggle to protect the indigenous life in the Arctic, Nabagesera’s defending of the rights of homosexuals in Uganda and Strada’s efforts to provide medical assistance to victims of armed conflicts.
Watt-Cloutier, Nabagesera and Strada are going to share this year’s 3 million kronor ($358,500) prize, while an honorary award will go to the people of the Marshall Islands and Tony de Brum, for what was described as their “visionary and courageous legal action against nuclear powers for failing to honor disarmament obligations.”
According to the foundation statement which was declared in Stockholm on Thursday, the jury recognized the life-long work by Watt-Cloutier to “protect the Inuit of the Arctic and defend their right to maintain their livelihoods and culture, which are acutely threatened by climate change.”
They also recognized the “courage and persistence, despite violence and intimidation, in working for the right of LGBT people to a life free from prejudice and persecution” in the case of Nabagesera.
As for Strada, the jury recognized “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.”
The Alternative Nobel also recognized the people of the Marshall Islands for their “vision and courage to take legal action against the nuclear powers for failing to honor their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
The Awards will be presented at a ceremony in Stockholm on Nov. 30, 2015, hosted by the Society for the Right Livelihood Award in the Swedish Parliament.
Right Livelihood Awards, founded in 1980 by the Swedish-German professional philatelist Jakob von Uexkull, are presented annually in the Swedish Parliament and are often referred to as “Alternative Nobel Prizes.”
They were introduced “to honor and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.”