Stockholm (dpa) – The so-called alternative Nobel Prizes were awarded in Stockholm on Thursday evening. Only one of the four winners was able to personally receive the award: human rights activist Ales Belyazki from Belarus.
US civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson and Nicaraguan activist Lottie Cunningham Wren were unable to attend the ceremony in Stockholm due to the corona and were called in via video. Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotudeh had to go back to prison on Thursday and thanked her as an audio message.
The Right Livelihood Award, commonly known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, is presented every year by the Right Livelihood Foundation. It honors people who work for peace and a more just and sustainable world, often at high risk. This also applies to this year’s prize winners. “Everyone fights against the threat to democracy and gives others the courage to stand up,” said Ole von Uexküll, the foundation’s director. He was shocked that the Iranian Sotudeh had to be arrested again shortly before the ceremony.
In her previously recorded acceptance speech, the lawyer said that the award was a great honor for her. “Under these difficult circumstances, he energizes me and my family to continue on my path,” her words were translated. Sotudeh has stood up as a lawyer for political activists and for women who have publicly removed their headscarves to protest the Iranian legal situation. The Iranian regime sees her as an enemy of the state and has been sentenced to more than 30 years in prison. In her speech, the lawyer drew attention to the plight of all political prisoners in Iran.
Ales Belyazki, who fights for democracy and human rights in Belarus with his organization Wesna, said he sees the award as moral support and a sign of solidarity in the democratic world for the Belarusian people. “This is a clear signal to the Belarusian authorities that the world will never accept the massive human rights violations currently taking place in Belarus,” he said.
With the award from the American Stevenson, the Right Livelihood Foundation drew attention to the racism debate in the US. “I live in the country with the most arrests in the world,” said Stevenson. The civil rights lawyer has saved countless innocent convicts from the death penalty. “I work against a system that treats you better when you are rich and guilty than when you are poor and innocent,” Stevenson said in a Montgomery column.
Lottie Cunningham Wren emphasized that she received the award on behalf of the indigenous peoples of Nicaragua, whose territory is under threat from armed settlers. “For a long time I went with my people, with those who are hungry and thirsty for justice, who suffer forced displacement, who suffer violence, environmental destruction or violations of their fundamental rights. I’m here for you. “
This year, 182 nominations from 71 countries were eligible for the Right Livelihood Award. The prize money is one million Swedish kronor (approximately 98,000 euros) per winner and is intended to help them continue their work.