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Swedish rights prize to US weapons activist

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Swedish rights prize to US weapons activist
12:19 CEST+02:00
US anti-chemical weapons campaigner Paul Walker, 67, was jointly awarded the Swedish Right Livelihood Award Thursday honouring those who work to improve the lives of others.

"Chemical weapons are easy to manufacture but very difficult to get rid of. Walker has 20 years of experience in how to eliminate them both politically and technically," Ole von Uexkull, director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, told AFP.

"It is his knowledge that is needed right now in Syria."

Walker, from the environmental group Green Cross, shares the prize with three other activists who the prize jury said work to "secure the fundamentals of human life".

They include Palestinian human rights activist Raji Sourani, Congolese surgeon Denis Mukwege and Swiss food security expert Hans Herren.

"They show that we have the knowledge and the tools to eliminate weapons of

mass destruction, to secure respect for human rights, to end the war on women

in Eastern Congo, and to feed the world with organic agriculture," wrote von Uexkull in a statement.

Swedish-German philatelist Jakob von Uexkull founded the donor-funded prize in 1980 after the Nobel Foundation behind the Nobel Prizes refused to create awards honouring efforts in the fields of the environment and international development.

For this reason, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation oftens calls its distinction the "alternative Nobel prize."

The four Right Livelihood winners share the 2 million kronor (€230,000, $312,000) prize sum equally.

The awards were to be formally handed over at a ceremony in the Swedish parliament on December 2nd 2013.

AFP/The Local/pvs

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