Right Livelihood Awards: Alternative Nobel Laureates honored

Right Livelihood Awards
Alternative Nobel Prize winners honored

Olexandra Matwijtschuk has received the Right Livelihood Award. photo

© Maja Suslin/Tt/TT NEWS AGENCY/AP/dpa

Brave personalities and organizations from four different countries receive this year’s Right Livelihood Awards, which are often referred to as Alternative Nobel Prizes. For the first time, the prize also goes to Ukraine.

Activists and organizations from Somalia, Venezuela, Uganda and Ukraine have received the Right Livelihood Award. The award, commonly referred to as the Alternative Nobel Prize, was presented to this year’s winners at a festive ceremony in Stockholm.

All honorees accepted the prizes in person in the Swedish capital. This year, they include the Somali human rights activists Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman, the Ukrainian Olexandra Matwijtschuk and the Center for Civil Liberties (CCL), the Venezuelan collective Cecosesola and the Ugandan Africa Institute for Energy Governance (Afiego). For the first time, the prize is also going to Ukraine – people and organizations from more than 70 other countries have previously received it.

This year’s laureates were announced at the end of September shortly before the actual Nobel laureates. Although they come from completely different regions of the world, according to the Right Livelihood Foundation, they have in common that they are committed to replacing broken social systems with functioning ones. They all show ways for necessary social transformation processes.

Appreciation of the commitment to human rights, environment and peace

The Right Livelihood Award, which has been presented since 1980, honors courageous personalities and organizations who work for human rights, the environment and peace. The award is at a critical distance from the actual Nobel Prizes, which will be presented in Stockholm and Oslo in just over a week and a half. The Center for Civil Liberties (CCL) will then be honored again: This year, alongside human rights activists from Belarus and Russia, it is also one of the Nobel Peace Prize winners.

At the ceremony, CCL chair Matviychuk reported that she and other human rights activists in Ukraine were working under conditions in which the law did not apply in view of the Russian war of aggression. She doesn’t wish anyone to have this experience. “However, these challenges force us to reveal the best in ourselves, to fight for freedom, take responsibility, be brave, make the right decisions, save others and find creative solutions,” she said.

The Right Livelihood Foundation usually honors lesser-known personalities and organizations internationally in order to give them more attention. The most well-known winners include the Swedish children’s book author Astrid Lindgren, the US whistleblower Edward Snowden and the Stockholm climate activist Greta Thunberg. During the ceremony, the latter reported on the climate lawsuit that more than 600 young people recently filed against the Swedish government. “Countries like Sweden are disproportionately responsible for the climate crisis. That’s why they have to act, take responsibility and move forward,” demanded the 19-year-old 2019 award winner.


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