April 2016 – Award Approaches 10,000 Laureates!?
However, the Foundation is approaching another exciting milestone: 10,000 fans on Facebook! In celebration of this achievement, the Foundation will distribute three signed copies of the book Backstage Heroes, a collection of Laureate portraits by Katharina Mouratidi. The winners will be selected at random – to win, just be one of the first 10,000 people to like the Facebook page! Hurry and become a fan soon!
Laureates Engage with UN Human Rights Council
From 29 February to 24 March, the United Nations Human Rights Council held its 31st session. Four Right Livelihood Award Laureates participated: 1992 Laureate Helen Mack Chang spoke in a side event on impunity in Guatemala organised by the Right Livelihood Award Foundation in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Guatemala and Sweden and the International Network of Human Rights (RIDH). The Asian Human Rights Council (Laureate, 2014) held a similar side event with Right Livelihood Award Foundation support and advocated for criminal justice reform before the Council.
Laureates Sima Samar and Denis Mukwege also participated in the session. Dr. Samar delivered an oral statement to the Council, citing “remarkable achievements” alongside “continued conflict” in Afghanistan. Dr. Mukwege gave a special address at a side event in the Council chambers before the High Commissioner, calling for increased engagement in the Democratic Republic of Congo. All four Laureates took advantage of the Council session to present impassioned pleas for the defense of basic human rights around the world.
Hate Speech: New Weapon Against Human Rights Defenders
In this month’s exclusive Voices of Right Livelihood podcast, 1992 Laureate Helen Mack Chang voices her concerns regarding the increasing use of hate speech against human rights defenders in Central America. Mack Chang cites slain Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres as the latest addition to a long list of victims, including journalists, legal professionals, and other civil society actors, who have raised their voices against human rights violations and suffered the consequences.
Nevertheless, Guatemala’s example can bring hope in putting an end to the culture of impunity in the region. With the support of Helen Mack Chang and the Myrna Mack Foundation, the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has engaged in a fight against all manner of impunity, proving itself a useful tool for any society facing political transition from authoritarian to democratic rule. Click here to listen to the podcast in Spanish, or here for English.
Jamila Raqib: “There’s a role for the international community”
In 1983, Dr. Gene Sharp founded the Albert Einstein Institution to “advance the study and use of strategic nonviolent action in conflicts throughout the world”. In 2012, he was presented with the Right Livelihood Award for his work. This year, together with the Executive Director of the Institution Jamila Raqib, Dr. Sharp is a nominee for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.
In celebration of this nomination and in observance of International Women’s Day, Jamila Raqib spoke last month at the Uppsala Castle Peace House in Sweden. Her talk highlighted the important roles of women and the international community in non-violent action. She also participated in an International Women’s Day event which took place at the Swedish parliament on 8 March. On behalf of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, congratulations to Ms. Raqib and Dr. Sharp!
Foundation Survey Update
Last month the Foundation introduced a survey to help improve clear communications about its activities. Thus far, over 1 000 respondents have answered the call and lent their voices to the cause! The questionnaire is still open, and can be accessed here. In the meantime, here are some preliminary findings:
Over 90% of respondents believe the Right Livelihood Award is “very important” or “quite important”.
The majority of respondents rank “protection of threatened Laureates” as the most important work of the Foundation.
The majority of respondents think that “focusing on the root causes of problems, rather than the symptoms” is the most important thing to highlight about the nature of the Award.
More News from the Foundation & Laureates
Bianca Jagger Wins Mayahuel Awards, Dedicates Prize to Berta Cáceres
On 12 March, Right Livelihood Award Laureate Bianca Jagger (2004) received the Mayahuel Award in recognition of her human rights and environmental work at the Guadalajara International Film Festival. She dedicated her award to the recently-murdered Honduran activist Berta Cáceres.
David Suzuki Celebrates 80th Birthday
On March 24th, 2009 Right Livelihood Award Laureate David Suzuki turned 80 years old. He celebrated by not only reflecting on his legacy, but looking ahead to the environmental challenges to come.
Youth Future Project Promotes Short Film on 2009 Laureate Alyn Ware
Right Livelihood Award Laureate Alyn Ware has been featured in a short documentary film created by the Youth Future Project on the theme of peace and nuclear disarmament. You can watch the film here.