'Alternative Nobel Prizes' awarded to peace work

2nd October 2007, Comments 0 comments

2 October 2007, Stockholm (dpa) - A jury named winners from Canada, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh Tuesday as recipients of the 2007 Right Livelihood Awards, often called the Alternative Nobel Prize. The winners all showed "practical solutions to global problems," jury member Marianne Andersson said. Legal scholar Christopher Weeramantry from Sri Lanka was honoured for "his lifetime of groundbreaking work to strengthen and expand the rule of international law," Andersson said. For instance, Weeramantry ha

2 October 2007

Stockholm (dpa) - A jury named winners from Canada, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh Tuesday as recipients of the 2007 Right Livelihood Awards, often called the Alternative Nobel Prize.

The winners all showed "practical solutions to global problems," jury member Marianne Andersson said.

Legal scholar Christopher Weeramantry from Sri Lanka was honoured for "his lifetime of groundbreaking work to strengthen and expand the rule of international law," Andersson said.

For instance, Weeramantry had shown how international law can be used to tackle "the nuclear arms race," she added of the former member of the International Court of Justice.

Dekha Ibrahim Abdi of Kenya was lauded for "showing in diverse ethnic and cultural situations how religious and other differences can be reconciled," the jury said.

Andersson said Mombasa-based Dekha Abdi, who was born 1964 in Wajir, northern Kenya, was an example of how women are "not always credited for the peace work," citing her work to promote inter-faith dialogue in countries ranging from Kenya to Uganda, Sudan and South Africa.

Dekha Abdi has also taught in Britain and the Netherlands.

Percy and Louise Schmeiser of Saskatchewan, Canada were lauded for their work to defend "biodiversity and farmers' rights," the citation said, referring to their long struggle against genetic engineering of crops.

The couple have taken on agribusiness firm Monsanto and the concept of "patents of life" and genetic engineering that poses a threat to biodiversity, the jury said.

Bangladesh's Grameen Shakti organization was cited for its work to promote solar energy for the rural poor.

The organization linked to the Grameen Bank group that along with its founder Muhammad Yunus was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize has pioneered cheap solar home systems. Some 110,000 systems covering 30,000 villages are currently in use.

"Many women work as technicians which is also a plus," Andersson said.

This year's award is worth 2 million kronor (310,000 dollars) and was to be shared equally between the four.

A total of 84 candidates from 42 countries were nominated.

Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull created the prize in 1980 "to honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today."

The awards are to be presented at a ceremony in the Swedish parliament on December 7.

Last year, the prize was awarded to Brazilian Chico Whitaker Ferreira who helped found the World Social Reform, Indian social activist Ruth Manorama, US "whistleblower" Daniel Ellsberg and a Colombian poetry festival.

DPA

Subject: German news

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