Regional Conference for Asia-Pacific
During the third regional conference in Mumbai, India, from 3-6 March 2015, Right Livelihood Award Laureates based in Asia and the Pacific came together to share their experiences and express solidarity with civil society organizations and activists across India – including Medha Patkar’s National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) and Irfan Engineer’s Center for Study of Society and Secularism. The conference was hosted at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), the Right Livelihood College’s South Asian campus.
The highlight of the conference was a public event on Thursday, 5 March. In the morning, Ruth Manorama (2006, India), Medha Patkar (1991, India), Basil Fernando (2014, Hong Kong SAR, China) and Sima Samar (2012, Afghanistan) participated in a panel discussion on the topic “Transforming Livelihood: Creating an Enabling Environment for Civil Society in the Asia-Pacific”. Government officials, policymakers, diplomats, civil society activists, students and the media were able to attend the event. Afterwards, students and faculty members of TISS had the chance to interact with the Laureates in smaller thematic seminars. They discussed topics such as peace, the environment, human rights and gender issues.
Read the press releases on the opening (17 February 2015) and closing of the conference (7 March 2015). Also read Laureate Alyn Ware (2009, New Zealand)’s press release, “India could lead again for a nuclear-weapon-free world” (2 March 2015).
Laureate Swami Agnivesh (2004, India); Interfaith dialogue, liberation of bonded labourers
Laureate Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ) (2003, South Korea): represented by Hogyun Kim; Citizen’s movement for social justice and reconciliation with North Korea
Irfan Engineer, son of Laureate Asghar Ali Engineer (2004, India): Interfaith dialogue and peace
TENAGANITA (Laureate Irene Fernandez (HYPERLINK)’s organization (2005, Malaysia): represented by Glorene A. Das; Protection of women and migrant workers
Laureate Basil Fernando, Asian Human Rights Commission (2014, Hong Kong SAR, China); Human rights defender
Laureate Huang Ming (2011, China); Entrepreneur in solar energy)
Laureate International Baby Food Action Network Asia/BPNI (1998, International): represented by Dr. Arun Gupta; Campaigners in support of breastfeeding
Laureate Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) (1996, India): represented by Professor P K Raveendran; Environment and education
Laureate Ladakh Ecological Development (1986, India): represented by Lobzang Tsultim; Protection of environment and culture
Laureate Lokayan/Rajni Kothari (1985, India): represented by Vijay Pratap and Ovais Sultan Khan; Protection of civil rights and the environment
Laureate Ruth Manorama (2006, India); Human rights, focus on women’s rights
Suciwati, widow of Laureate Munir (2000, Indonesia); Human rights activism and civilian control of the military
Laureate Medha Patkar (1991, India), Narmada Bachao Andolan; Human rights and environmental activists
Laureate Seikatsu Club Consumers’ Cooperative (1989, Japan): represented by Ryoko Shimizu, Masami Tsuchiya, and Teruko Kobayashi; Environmental protection and sustainable consumption modeling)
Laureate Shrikrishna Upadhyay / SAPPROS (2010, Nepal); Civil society activist and micro finance practitioner
Laureate Sima Samar (2012, Afghanistan); Health, education, human rights activist
Laureate Sulak Sivaraksa (HYPERLINK), (1995, Thailand); Public intellectual, activist
Laureate Hannumappa R Sudarshan / Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra (VGKK), (1994, India) Indigenous peoples’ rights
Laureate Alyn Ware, (2009, New Zealand); Nuclear disarmament
Declarations and statements
The following petitions were initiated at the regional conference in Mumbai.
Laureates petition the Nigerian government over Ogoni environment
With this statement, 22 RLA Laureates and conference observers demanded that Ogoniland be declared an ecological disaster zone and called for an urgent clean-up of the environment.
Their petition said: “We are concerned that almost four years after the release of the UNEP report, no significant step has been taken to implement its recommendations. We are even shocked to learn of moves by corporate interests to restart petroleum resources extraction in Ogoniland without first looking at the question of environmental restoration before restarting oil activities.” Read thestatement and the list of signatories here.
Laureates call upon the Indian government to protect the Western Ghats
The Western Ghat ecosystem supports the lives of people in six states of India but it faces serious threats of ecological threats. A committee headed by Prof. Gadgil, appointed by the Government of India, has provided recommendations for the protection of Western Ghats, but the government has not accepted the report yet.
Thus, 13 RLA Laureates requested the Government of India to accept the Gadgil Committee Report to implement its recommendations without further delay.
Read the petition and the list of signatories here.