News 2016-06-24

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture: Dignity Comes First

                                       

26 June marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, a cause to which Dr Inge Genefke, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1988, has dedicated her life

As Dr Genefke said in her acceptance speech, “That is what scares the torture victims: The blind indifference of the world. They themselves have not shown blind indifference.” Neither has she, forming the first Amnesty International medical group in Denmark in 1973. In those days, treating the physical and psychological effects of torture was still a work for pioneers, which led to the establishment of organisations such as DIGNITY and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, both based in Copenhagen.

As the UN reports: “Recovering from torture requires prompt and specialised programmes. The work of rehabilitation centres and organisations around the world has demonstrated that victims can make the transition from horror to healing.” It is thanks to Dr Genefke’s legacy that torture survivors can now find the assistance and treatments they need.

But the work is not over yet. Together with IRCT, Swedish Red Cross and Kvinna till Kvinna, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation is organising a discussion on the topic of ‘Life After Torture’ during this year’s foremost Swedish political forum known as Almedalen. With unprecedented numbers of people fleeing from violence in recent years, what does Sweden and the world need to do today to support victims of torture?

News 2016-06-17

Music Breaks the Chains

An estimated 168 million children are still in child labour around the world today, according to the International Labour Office (ILO). One of the best ways to break those chains is to empower children, as José Antonio Abreu, 2001 Right Livelihood Award Laureate and founder of El Sistema, has demonstrated.

                                       

Since 1975, Venezuela’s National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs, called “El Sistema” has used music education as a vehicle for social change. Today, it brings hope, joy and positive social impact to 400,000 children and their families and communities throughout the country, giving lower-income minors and abandoned children a valuable alternative to the slavery of drugs, prostitution and crime. This unprecedented success has inspired hundreds of similar programmes which reach an estimated one million children in at least 60 countries around the world. Abreu is one of the prominent supporters of ILO’s Music Against Child Labour Initiative, which inspires musicians from all over the world to dedicate at least one concert or song to the struggle against child labour.

 

 

News 2016-05-31

La condamnation d’Hissène Habré, une victoire pour le Tchad et l’Afrique entière

Jacqueline Moudeina, avocate pour les droits de l’Homme et Lauréate du Prix Right Livelihood en 2011, peut se réjouir: après plus de vingt ans passés aux côtés des victimes du régime de l’ancien dictateur Hissène Habré, la justice a finalement frappé à la porte du Tchad.

Le verdict du lundi 30 mai a reconnu les atrocités commises et ordonnées par le ‘Pinochet d’Afrique’ : des viols, des exécutions, de l’esclavage, des enlèvements, des actes de torture. La condamnation à laquelle le ‘procès africain du siècle’ a abouti prévoit une peine de détention à perpétuité pour Habré – âgé de 73 ans – reconnu coupable de crimes contre l’humanité et de crimes de guerre.

                                           

Au micro de Radio France Internationale, Jacqueline Moudeina raconte : « Que du bonheur. J’ai consacré le plus clair de mon temps à ce travail là, à ce dossier. Et aujourd’hui, je ne pouvais pas demander mieux que la perpétuité pour Hissène Habré. Je pense que c’est une victoire pour l’Afrique. Parce que là, l’Afrique vient de juger l’Afrique ! »

Le régime de Habré a duré de 1982 à 1990, date à laquelle il fut évincé de son poste après un coup d’Etat. Le Sénégal est le pays qu’il a choisi pour son exile et c’est à Dakar que, de juillet 2015 jusqu’à février dernier, les Chambres africaines extraordinaires ont vu 93 témoins à charge défiler à la barre. Arrêté en 2013, Hissène Habré est maintenant le premier ancien chef d’Etat a être « condamné pour crimes contre l’humanité, crimes de guerre et torture, dans un autre pays que le sien », comme souligne Africaguinée, mais aussi le premier d’entre eux à être condamné pour avoir personnellement violé quelqu’un, la Cour ayant validé le délit d’esclavage sexuel parmi ses chefs d’inculpation.

News 2016-05-25

Sexual Violence in Africa: Reversing the Trends

In honour of Africa Day 2016, three Right Livelihood Award Laureates from Africa are speaking out against sexual violence across the continent, which affects nearly one in two African women.

                                     

Jacqueline Moudeina from Chad (2011), Asha Hagi Elmi from Somalia (2008) and Denis Mukwege from DRC (2013) prove that it is possible to reverse the shocking trends by working with the media and the international community to shed light on the crimes, and to empower all those women who have chosen to speak up and stand up against them.

 

Read the media release in English and in French.

News 2016-05-21

The Award’s Future in Parliament Under Threat

Since 1985, the Right Livelihood Award has been presented in the Swedish Parliament, on the invitation from 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. SÄRLA has recently been informed that the Speaker of Parliament, Urban Ahlin of the Social Democratic party has decided that the award ceremony can no longer be held in the Swedish Parliament, known as Riksdagen.

The official explanation is that the Parliament premises are needed “for parliamentary work instead”. However, the room in which the award ceremony is normally held is empty almost 90 percent of the time, according to the Parliament administration records. Besides, the decision by the Speaker preempts the conclusions of the ongoing review on the allocation of parliamentary facilities, which is expected to be completed by 31 August 2016.

The Parliament Board, which determines the rules for room allocation, has its last meeting before the summer break on 8 June 2016. The Right Livelihood Award Foundation together with SÄRLA call on members of the Parliament Board to decide, there and then, in favour of upholding the 30-year tradition of presenting the Right Livelihood Award in the Swedish Parliament.

For more information, please read the press release (in Swedish) and watch SVT’s interview with Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

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