Global activists honoured with ‘Alternative Nobel’ prize

Activists from Nepal, Brazilian and Nigerian environmentalists, and Israeli doctors have been awarded the 2010 Rights Livelihood awards, often called the "Alternative Nobel" prize, organisers announced on Thursday.

Global activists honoured with 'Alternative Nobel' prize
Physicians for Human Rights Israel's Dr. Hassan Matani operates on Palestinian

The 2010 awards “honour the power of change from the grassroots,” the Sweden-based Rights Livelihood Foundation said in a statement, adding that the recipients would share the €200,000 ($273,000) cash prize.

Israeli organisation “Physicians for Human Rights Israel” was recognised for its “indomitable spirit in working for the right to health for all people in Israel and Palestine.”

Environmental activist Nnimmo Bassey, a 52-year-old Nigerian, was awarded for “revealing the full ecological and human horrors of oil production.”

The jury also recognised his work “to strengthen the environmental movement in Nigeria and globally.”

Brazilian bishop Erwin Kraeutler, 71, was recognised “for a lifetime of work for the human and environmental rights of indigenous peoples and for his tireless efforts to save the Amazon forest from destruction.”

Finally, Nepal’s Shrikrishna Upadhyay and his community organisation SAPPROS were awarded “for demonstrating over many years the power of community mobilisation to address the multiple causes of poverty even when threatened by political violence and instability.”

The award’s founder Jakob von Uexkull said this year’s laureates were role models.

“True change starts at the grassroots level: physicians who did not wait for politicians before acting to end unnecessary suffering in the Middle East; villagers who work themselves out of poverty; and environmental movements which unite the victims of ecological devastation,” he said.

Jakob von Uexkull, a Swedish-German philatelist and former member of the European parliament, established the prize in 1980 to “honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.”

Since then, the prize has been funded by individual donors.

The awards ceremony will take place in the Swedish parliament on December 6.

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