June 2016 – Award’s Future in Parliament Under Threat
Since 1985, the Right Livelihood Award has been presented in the Swedish Parliament on the invitation of the Association for the Right Livelihood Award in the Parliament (SÄRLA), an association of parliamentarians from all seven established political parties of the Swedish Parliament. Today, that important tradition is under threat. The Speaker of Parliament, Urban Ahlin, has decided that the award ceremony can no longer be held in the Swedish Parliament, known as Riksdagen, citing “room shortage”. However, the room used for the awards ceremony stands empty nearly 90% of the time.
Since Swedish TV broke the news on 21 May, the Foundation has received an outpouring of support from across Swedish society and from its Laureates. Together with SÄRLA, the Foundation calls on members of the Parliament Board to decide, at their next meeting on 8 June, in favour of upholding the 30-year tradition of presenting the Right Livelihood Award in Riksdagen. Learn more here and support our #RLAiRiksdagen campaign.
Big Wins for International Justice
In May, two Right Livelihood Award Laureates rejoiced at seeing justice served in Africa and Latin America. Having defended the victims of Hissène Habré’s regime for over 20 years, Jacqueline Moudeina has celebrated the verdict passed by the African Extraordinary Chambers on 30 May, in which the former Chadian dictator was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison. Meanwhile, a Buenos Aires court officially recognised the so-called Operation Condor, a campaign of political repression carried out by Latin American secret services in the 1970s. Laureate Martín Almada, himself victim of terror, provided part of the evidence used in court, resulting in 15 prison sentences.
IBFAN Reports Slow Global Progress on Breastfeeding Laws
On 9 May, the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), which received the Right Livelihood Award in 1998, presented the findings of its first joint report with the World Health Organization (WHO) andUNICEF on the status of national laws to protect and promote breastfeeding.
The report, “Marketing of breast-milk substitutes: National implementation of the International Code – Status report 2016”, reveals that 2 out of 3 infantsare not exclusively breastfed for six months, as recommended by WHO and UNICEF — a rate that has not improved in two decades. Furthermore, only 39 countries have enacted legislation incorporating all or most of the IBFAN Code’s provisions.
Raji Sourani: “We are talking about a new brand of apartheid”
Raji Sourani, Palestinian human rights defenderwho received the Right Livelihood Award in 2013, visited Stockholm earlier this month for informal meetings with representatives of the Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry and Development Cooperation Agency, Sida.
Sourani also gave a lecture at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, sharing his perspective on the state of human rights in Palestine. Watch his lecture and the ensuing discussion here (English).
Lights, Camera, Social Action!
Film is a powerful tool to engineer social change. This month, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation took part in two cinematic events that seek to do just that.
GoodPitch, organised by BRITDOC, connects the world’s best social justice documentary films with new allies and partners. This year’s event took place in Stockholm on 24-25 May.
Meanwhile, in Geneva, the Foundation partnered with the Festival de Cinéma des Cinq Continents, which this year included two films featuring Right Livelihood Award Laureates:
Dr. Denis Mukwege (2013) struggles for the health and rights of women in The Man Who Mends Women: The Wrath of Hippocrates by Thierry Michel and Colette Braeckman.
Vandana Shiva (1993) appears in Andrew Morgan’sThe True Cost to discuss the impact of the fast fashion industry on the environment and society.
School’s (not) out for the Summer!
In a bid to inspire the young generation about the work of Right Livelihood Award Laureates, the Foundation is engaging in two educational projects this summer in Sweden.
The traveling exhibition who cares! will be showcased at three different venues: Fryshuset in Stockholm and Sommarakademien in Härnösand in June, and Dieselverkstan in Sickla in July. If you would you like to bring the exhibition to your municipality, pleasecontact us and download the flyer with more information (in Swedish).
Students from Fyrisskolan in Uppsala interested in technology and natural science will now have the chance to focus their one-year research papers on our Laureates and their work. This pilot project stems from a collaboration with Teknikcollege, a Swedish national network for technical education, mostly active in secondary schools.
Looking Ahead: This Month’s Events
On 8 June, Laureate Martín Almada (2002) will give a public lecture in Moscow, organised by fellow LaureateMemorial (2004), titled “In Search of Paraguay’s Secret Archives”.
At the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn (13-15 June), Laureate Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera(2015) will speak about the global reporting on LGBTI rights, while the Foundation’s Executive Director Ole von Uexkull will debate the values that underpin our current economic system.
This year’s Almedalen, Sweden’s biggest political forum, will take place from 3-10 July. The Right Livelihood Award Foundation will use the occasion to draw international attention to the issue of torture, together with theInternational Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, founded by Laureate Dr Inge Genefke (1988).
More News from the Foundation & Laureates
In conjunction with the UN Open Ended Working Group on Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiationsheld in Geneva from 9-13 May, the World Future Council held a side event on political will for nuclear disarmament. Speakers included 2009 Right Livelihood Award Laureate Alyn Ware from New Zealand.
2005 Right Livelihood Award Laureate Maude Barlow celebrated her birthday on 24 May with the receipt of an honorary degree from Canada’s Mount Saint Vincent University. Congratulations!
In honour of Africa Day 2016, three Right Livelihood Award Laureates spoke out against sexual violence across the continent, which affects nearly one in two African women.
On 26 May Bianca Jagger, Nicaraguan human rights advocate and 2004 Right Livelihood Award Laureate, published an op-ed on the impact of the upcoming ‘Brexit’ referendum on our future.