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This week, a five-member delegation of the RLA Foundation witnessed the impact of "Operation Protective Edge" and the closure of Gaza on human rights defenders’ work inside Gaza. They went to Gaza to reaffirm their fullest solidarity with Raji Sourani (RLA 2013) and his colleagues at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), and to inquire into the threats and restrictions Raji Sourani and his colleagues face with regards to their security, rights and fundamental freedoms.
The delegates noted: "What we have witnessed is the aftermath of a manmade disaster. 'Operation Protective Edge' has been the second major offensive on the Gaza Strip in five years and its impact has been devastating. We learned that many people, and particularly children, are severely traumatized after the attacks and are in urgent need of psychological support. From the stories we heard and our own observations, many of these attacks were clearly directed towards civilians and civilian property. They were not collateral damage as a result of attacks against military targets. (…) we fully support the UN Human Rights Council’s on-going investigation of purported violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in the latest Gaza conflict. We hope that the independent Commission of Inquiry will establish responsibility for these crimes and hold those who have committed them to account."
The European Parliament announced yesterday that Dr. Denis Mukwege has been named Laureate of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2014, which will be awarded in Strasbourg in November. He will receive the Prize for his struggle to protect women.
The RLA Foundation welcomes the decision and congratulates Dr. Mukwege. In 2013, he had received the Right Livelihood Award "...for his courageous work healing women survivors of war-time sexual violence and speaking up about its root causes".
More information about the Sakharov Prize.
The delegation of the Right Livelihood Award that travelled to Maraba, Para State in Brazil last year to provide support and solidarity to members from Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais sem Terra (MST) and Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT) has now reacted to a new series of murders of Brazilian activists. They wrote open letters to all the candidates standing for the upcoming Brazilian Presidential elections.
In these letters, the delegation consisting of Raul Montenegro, Angie Zelter (of Trident Ploughshares) and board member Marianne Andersson urge all presidential candidates to explicitly state what are their positions and concrete proposals for eradicating any and all kinds of violence against peaceful activists who defend human rights and the environment, for protecting and preserving the lives of threatened people and for the building of a more just and sustainable society.
In response to yesterday’s announcement of this year’s Right Livelihood Awards, three recipients have recorded video messages, and two recipients circulated statements.
Watch Edward Snowden's video.
Watch Alan Rusbridger's video (provided by The Guardian).
Read Asma Jahangir's reaction to the Award.
Read Basil Fernando's statements on the AHRC website.
The full press release with quotes from the Laureates is available here.
Today the Right Livelihood Award Foundation announced the 2014 Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award: Edward Snowden (USA) and Alan Rusbridger (UK) receive a joint Honorary Award. Three more awards go to Asma Jahangir (Pakistan), Basil Fernando / Asian Human Rights Commission (Hong Kong, China), and Bill McKibben / 350.org (USA).
“This year’s Right Livelihood Laureates are stemming the tide of the most dangerous global trends. With this year’s Awards, we want to send a message of urgent warning that these trends – illegal mass surveillance of ordinary citizens, the violation of human and civil rights, violent manifestations of religious fundamentalism, and the decline of the planet’s life-supporting systems – are very much upon us already. If they are allowed to continue, and reinforce each other, they have the power to undermine the basis of civilised societies.
But the Laureates also demonstrate that the choice is entirely in our hands: by courageous acts of civil disobedience in the public interest, through principled and undeterred journalism, by upholding the rule of law and documenting each violation of it, and by building social movements to resist the destruction of our natural environment, we can turn the tide and build our common future on the principles of freedom, justice, and respect for the Earth.”
For more information, please visit our Press Room page.