"For 25 years we have been struggling to build a true democracy. A time of great advances, but also of continuing challenges,” argues Martín Almada in an article dedicated to Paraguay’s celebration of the dictatorship’s fall.
Taking a critical look at the country’s actual developments, the RLA Laureate (2002) also suggests solutions to the still standing issues.
The Right Livelihood Award Foundation congratulates Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais sem Terra (MST) on the occasion of their 30th anniversary.
In 1991, MST received the prize “for winning land for landless families and helping them to farm it sustainably”. MST has successfully advanced the goal of agrarian reform and stood up for the rights of the landless poor in Brazil for these past thirty years. Despite the increasing criminalisation of movements struggling for social justice in Latin America, the members and leaders of the MST continue to persevere in their work, against all odds.
When Cícero Guedes, a MST activist was assassinated on 25 January 2013 – a year ago – the Right Livelihood Award family was able to contribute to the process of bringing those responsible to justice by sending a delegation to Maraba, Pará in April 2013. The delegation expressed solidarity with MST activists in the region, condemned attacks against activists and demanded that Cícero’s murderers be held accountable. Subsequently, at the first Regional Conference of the Latin American Laureates, in July 2013, we were able to link MST representatives with our other Laureates in the region, thereby strengthening MST’s regional network.
The Right Livelihood Award Foundation will continue to support MST in its struggle and wishes all involved in the movement every success in the coming years.
Yesterday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was presented with the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize for its extraordinary efforts to rid the world of chemical weapons since the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1997.
“I am pleased to be able to personally take part in today’s ceremony in Oslo and to represent the Right Livelihood Award laureates and organization,” said Paul Walker, director of Green Cross International's Environmental Security and Sustainability Programme, and 2013 Right Livelihood Award Recipient.
The Nobel Peace Prize is a well-deserved recognition of the years of very hard work which thousands of dedicated diplomats, hundreds of international inspectors, and many civil society and industry representatives have undertaken to safely abolish a whole class of weapons of mass destruction.”
Read more at Green Cross International's website.
Zafrullah Chowdhury (RLA 1992) joined over fifty freedom fighters in observing a three day hunger strike in Dhaka calling for peace and democracy in Bangladesh.
The protesters declared: "We freedom fighters have seen the horror and cruelty of war. We do not want to see our motherland fall prey to a suicidal civil war. We are now at the doorstep of such a disaster. The main reason for this situation is an undemocratic state run by rent seekers and looters. We want a truly accountable, corruption free and war criminal free democratic state. Towards that goal let us unite against all forms of violence, be that unleashed by the state or by any political party...."
The Right Livelihood Award Foundation stands in solidarity with Zafrullah Chowdhury in his campaign for peace and democracy in Bangladesh.
Prior to the Award Ceremony, the Laureates commented on the Award and how they plan to use their prize money. This year, the prize money per laureate is SEK 500,000 (ca EUR 57,000).
Paul Walker said he will “devote the Right Livelihood Award to expanding the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Coalition in support of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to strengthening multilateral arms control and verification regimes such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Biological Weapons Convention.“
Raji Sourani told the Right Livelihood Award Foundation that he had never expected how important the Award would be for Palestine. “Since news of the award broke, my office has been inundated with victims, colleagues, and former clients expressing their support and happiness. This award says that we are not alone. That people understand our struggle. That there is hope. (...) While States may turn their back, free people around the world stand in solidarity.”
Denis Mukwege plans to us the prize money to strengthen the social-economic programme of Panzi Foundation.
Mukwege believes that the most important impact of Award is the perception that the world is mobilising to end the suffering of the Congolese women. He feels that the pressure of the international community on the perpetrators of war and rapist is very strong this time. The international community has never taken seriously the suffering of women in conflict, and his work will continue until the world becomes aware of the severity of sexual violence against women in conflict.
Hans R. Herren noted that the Award to him blasted his retirement plans.
“Our prize money will go into our project Changing Course in Global Agriculture, which aims to secure food security for the world. With our bottom-up projects, we can show in the field that sustainable ecological agricultural methods boost yields and could provide enough and healthy food for the world’s population. With our top-down approach at international level, we support governments in analysing their food systems and charting the course to a sustainable agriculture and effective distribution systems. The two approaches combined look very promising.”