Alternative Nobels honor peace, human rights work

AP News
Posted: Sep 27, 2012 4:52 AM
Alternative Nobels honor peace, human rights work

STOCKHOLM (AP) — A British anti-arms trade campaign and promoters of peace, human rights and the environment from the United States, Afghanistan and Turkey have been named as winners of this year's Right Livelihood Awards, also known as the "alternative Nobels."

Gene Sharp, an American developer and promoter of nonviolent revolution techniques, will share the €150,000 ($195,000) cash prize with Afghan doctor and human rights defender Sima Samar and the Britain-based Campaign Against Arms Trade.

Turkish environmentalist Hayrettin Karaca, who co-founded the TEMA foundation that has grown into an international movement that combats soil erosion and protects natural habitats, will receive an honorary prize for "a lifetime of tireless advocacy and support for the protection and stewardship of our natural world," the jury said.

The awards were founded in 1980 by Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull to recognize work he felt was being ignored by the Nobel Prizes.

The prize jury said that Sharp, whose research into peaceful protests has inspired thousands and influenced social movements in Iran, Myanmar and Egypt, was cited for developing "strategies of nonviolent resistance and supporting their practical implementation in conflict areas."

He has written widely on the subject, and has advised governments and social movements on how to end oppression without using violence.

Described by the jury as "a doctor of the poor," Afghanistan's Samar was honored for her "longstanding and courageous dedication" to human rights in her homeland. She has helped establish hundreds of schools and dozens of health-care clinics aimed at helping the poor, especially women and children, through the Shuhada Organization and the Shuhada Clinic, founded in 1989.

Samar also helped establish Afghanistan's first Ministry of Women's Affairs. Since 2004 she has chaired the country's Independent Human Rights Commission.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade, or CAAT, was cited for increasing public awareness of the global arms trade. Through its campaigning, the jury said, CAAT has exposed "the corruption, hypocrisy and lethal consequences around this trade and has been instrumental in holding the U.K. government and arms companies to account for the same."

The prizes will be presented to the winners at a ceremony in the Swedish Parliament on Dec. 7, three days before this year's Nobel Prizes are handed out.