Regional Conference for European Laureates

The regional conference for European Laureates was held in Château de Bossey near Geneva, Switzerland, from 28 October – 1 November 2016. The Public events with Laureates took place on 31 October.

The main objective of the conference is to bring Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award based in Europe together on a common platform for the first time, to reflect on ways to contribute towards a vibrant, strong and independent civil society working towards peace, sustainable development, women’s participation and human rights.

The conference aimed at building on the Laureates’ experience working on these issues for over four decades and examine what is needed to protect and promote an enabling environment for civil society. Further, the conference aimed to facilitate sharing between the participating Laureates and the international ecumenical network regarding the consequences of a shrinking space for civil society and human rights defenders working on peace and development issues.

This is the fourth conference in a series of regional conferences co-organized with Church of Sweden, following successful meetings in Bogota, Colombia in 2013, Cairo, Egypt in 2014 and Mumbai, India in 2015.

List of Participants

Alyn Ware (campaigner for nuclear abolition, Laureate 2009, Switzerland/New Zealand)
Memorial – Grigory Okhotin (human rights, Laureate 2004, Russia)
Trident Ploughshares – Angie Zelter (campaigners for the abolition of nuclear weapons, Laureate 2001, UK)
Mycle Schneider (expert on nuclear energy policy, Laureate 1997, France)
Committee of Soldiers Mothers of Russia – Ida Kuklina (peace, Laureate 1996, Russia)
András Biró (minority rights, Laureate 1995, Hungary)
The Serb Civic Council – Miladin Vidakovic (peace, Laureate 1995, Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Finnish Village Action – Tapio Mattlar (civil society, Laureate 1992, Finland)
Alla Yaroshinskaya (journalism, Laureate 1992, Russia)
Survival – Stephen Corry (indigenous rights, Laureate 1989, UK/International)
Johan Galtung (peace, Laureate 1989, Norway)
János Vargha (environmentalist, Laureate 1985, Hungary)
Physicians for Human Rights – Ran Goldstein (health, Laureate 2010, Israel)
Birsel Lemke (environmentalist, Laureate 2000, Turkey)
Vesna Terselic (peacebuilding and reconciliation, Laureate 1998, Croatia)
IBFAN – Camille Selleger (promotion of breastfeeding, Laureate 1998, International)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims – Víctor Madrigal-Borloz (prevention of torture, Laureate 1988, Denmark)
Monika Hauser (women and conflict, Germany, Laureate 2008)
Gino Strada (health, Laureate 2015, Italy)

Declarations and Statements

“Roma Rights Under Threat Across Europe – ‘Alternative Nobel’ Laureates Put the Spotlight on Europe’s Most Numerous and Excluded Minority”

More than 20 Right Livelihood Award Laureates at the conference called on the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to end ethnic segregation of Roma people in a statement. The discrimination often begins at school, and to implement affirmative action to compensate for past discrimination against the Roma, in a joint statement.

András Bíró, who received the award in 1995 for defending Roma rights in his native Hungary, where Roma population is estimated at 700,000-800,000, said: “The Roma community in Hungary is treated as if they were migrants, although they have lived there for centuries and carry Hungarian passports. While Hungary’s anti-refugee policy has received wide condemnation from the international community, the government’s ongoing discrimination against its own citizens has largely been ignored.”

Since 2010, the Hungarian government has systematically neglected segregation in school, which was met with protests from teachers and civil society activists.

Read the full statement from 1 November 2016 here.

“Public Interest Statement in Support of the Investigation and Adjudication of Criminal Nuclear Defence Policies”

26 Right Livelihood Award Laureates declared their support for the investigation of the UK’s nuclear defence policies in a statement, initiated by Angie Zelter, Trident Ploughshares, UK (Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2001).

The call for an investigation is not only in the public interest, but is also in the interests of the long-term survival of humanity, the Laureates stressed.

Read the full statement here.