News 2015-10-29

Employees of Afghanistan Indepedent Human Rights Commission Killed In Explosion

The Right Livelihood Award Foundation offers its deepest condolences to the families of two employees of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), who were killed when a remote-controlled improvised explosive device detonated against the organisation’s vehicle in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan, on 26 October. Six other staff of the AIHRC were injured as a result of the attack.

The AIHRC is chaired by 2012 Right Livelihood Award Laureate Sima Samar. Samar said: "We at the AIHRC work for the protection and promotion of human rights of everyone. We are impartial and independent in our work. I call upon all warring parties to respect international humanitarian law and human rights law. I call upon them to refrain attacking civilians including the AIHRC staff and offices."

Read our press statement here.

News 2015-10-01

RLA 2015 Laureates announced

Today, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation announced the 2015 Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award:

Tony de Brum and The People of Marshall Islands receives an Honorary Award. Three more awards go to Sheila Watt-Cloutier (Canada), Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera (Uganda), and Gino Strada / EMERGENCY (Italy).

"This year’s Right Livelihood Laureates stand up for our basic rights – be it the rights of indigenous peoples or LGBTI communities, or the right of all citizens to live in a world free from the scourges of war and climate chaos. With their tireless work, on the frontlines and in courts, the Laureates uphold the values that led to the creation of the United Nations seventy years ago. In this year of global humanitarian crises, they provide an inspiring response to the defining challenges of our time."

You can watch the original announcement on YouTube. For more information, interview opportunities and media materials, please visit our Press Room.

News 2015-08-14

Laureates Show Solidarity with Patkar's Protest

1991 Laureate Medha Patkar (India) and her colleagues at Narmada Bachao Andolan have begun a six-day march through the banks of the Narmada river on 6 August. They are protesting the decision by the Indian government to raise the water level of the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

The march culminated in a Jal Satyagrah, a method of protesting by standing in water, in the Narmada on 12 August. This will continue until the government reverses its decision to raise the level of the dam. The proposed plan would lead to the displacement of thousands of families and the denial of lawful rehabilitation and land ownership rights.

44 Laureates from 31 countries have signed a petition in support of Medha Patkar and her protest.

Read the petition in English and Hindi.

News 2015-06-11

Letter of solidarity to Laureate Zafrullah Chowdhury

Zafrullah Chowdhury (RLA 1992) signed a joint statement against a judgment of the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh, which had ruled that a British journalist's blog was in contempt of court. As a result, Chowdhury was sentenced to 1 hour in the custody of the court and the payment of a fine by the same court.

Basil Fernando, Director of Asian Human Rights Commission, addressed the issue in an open letter to Zafrullah Chowdhury: "We need to also remind ourselves that our justice systems are failing us, and failing us badly… Developing good systems of justice is one of the major areas where we have failed. Not enough of us speak out about this. Your wisdom in reminding us of this needs to be appreciated."

The RLA recently submitted an urgent appeal to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, to urge him to issue a public statement about Chowdury's conviction. Read the press release


News 2015-06-03

NSA surveillance programme reformed by new legislation

President Obama signed a bill that overhauls the NSA surveillance programme that has been in place since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The Freedom Act would mark the end of a system exposed by Edward Snowden (RLA Laureate 2014).

The new legislation will no longer allow the NSA to look into Americans' information records in bulk. Rather, it will leave the records in the hands of phone companies and provide the government with the ability to seek access only with a warrant. The bill also improves transparency processes for decisions in surveillance courts.

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