Four exciting winners of the Right Livelihood Award 2017


The Right Livelihood Awards 2017 honour courageous protagonists for justice and and social change. The Awards go to Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, India and the US. The winners were announced today in Stockholm, Sweden.

This year’s honorary award goes to Robert Bilott (USA) for “exposing a decades-long history of chemical pollution, winning long-sought justice for the victims, and setting a precedent for effective regulation on hazardous substances.”

Bilott comments: “I hope that this honour helps spread awareness and recognition of the urgent need to take further steps to protect our drinking water, and the ability and power of local residents and communities to ensure that such steps are taken.”

The cash award of SEK 3 million (around EUR 350’000) is shared equally by the other three Laureates:

Colin Gonsalves (India) is honoured by the Jury “for his tireless and innovative use of public interest litigation over three decades to secure fundamental human rights for India’s most marginalised and vulnerable citizens.”

Gonsalves comments: “I am both humbled and privileged by the Award. It comes at a time when India is going through a dark period and human rights activists are under siege. The platform the Foundation provides will help us strengthen democratic resistance at this critical stage.”

Khadija Ismayilova (Azerbaijan) receives the Award “for her courage and tenacity in exposing corruption at the highest levels of government through outstanding investigative journalism in the name of transparency and accountability”. It is the first time that a Right Livelihood Award goes to a Laureate from Azerbaijan.

Ismayilova comments: “It is an honour for me to be chosen for such a prestigious award. I happily accept the award on behalf of all journalists and human rights defenders of my country, who continue to work despite difficult conditions.”

Yetnebersh Nigussie (Ethiopia) is recognised by the Jury “for her inspiring work promoting the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities, allowing them to realise their full potential and changing mindsets in our societies”.

Nigussie comments: “It is an absolute honour to receive the prestigious Right Livelihood Award. The recognition provides welcome fuel to the disability and development community’s ongoing call for inclusion and full participation of people with disabilities in all spheres of life.”

Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Award, comments: “This year’s Laureates protect the rights and lives of citizens across three continents. With their courageous work for human rights, public health and good governance, they tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges at their very core. At a time of alarming setbacks for democracy, their successes show us the way forward towards a just, peaceful and sustainable world for all.”

Established in 1980, the Right Livelihood Award honours and supports courageous people and organisations offering visionary and exemplary solutions to the root causes of global problems. Today, there are 170 Laureates from 69 countries.

2013 the founder and president of Biovision Foundation, Hans Rudolf Herren and his Foundation won the Right Livelihood Award together. To the Biovision press release in 2013

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