A voluntary Syrian aid group called White Helmets that assists civilian victims of the country’s civil war has been named as winner of the Right Livelihood Award often called as “Alternative Nobel Prize Award”
Other winners :
- Russian activist Svetlana Gannushkina
- Egypt’s feminist leader Mozn Hassan
- Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet
About Right Livelihood Award :
The Right Livelihood Award is an international award to “honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.” The prize was established in 1980 by German-Swedish philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull, and is presented annually in early December.
- An international jury, invited by the five regular Right Livelihood Award board members, decides the awards in such fields as environmental protection, human rights, sustainable development, health, education, and peace.
- The prize money is shared among the winners, usually numbering four, and isEUR 200,000. Very often one of the four laureates receives an honorary award, which means that the other three share the prize money.
- Although it is promoted as an“Alternative Nobel Prize”, it is not a Nobel prize (i.e., a prize created by Alfred Nobel). It does not have any organizational ties to the awarding institutions of the Nobel Prize or the Nobel Foundation.
- However, the Right Livelihood Award is sometimes popularly associated with the Nobel prizes; the Right Livelihood Award committee arranged for awards to be made in theRiksdag of Sweden the day before the Nobel prizes and the economics prize are also awarded in Stockholm, and the awards are understood as a critique of the traditional Nobel prizes.
- The establishment of the award followed a failed attempt to have the Nobel Foundation create new prizes in the areas of environmental protection, sustainable development and human rights.
- The prize has been awarded to a diverse group of people and organisations, including Wangari Maathai, Astrid Lindgren, Bianca Jagger, Mordechai Vanunu, Leopold Kohr, Arna Mer-Khamis, Petra Kelly, Survival International,Amy Goodman, Memorial, and Edward Snowden.
About White Helmets :
The Syrian group – the first winner from that country – has about 3,000 members dedicated to rescuing people from bombed houses, fighting fires and offering first aid, often at great personal risk.
- Operating in opposition controlled areas of the war-torn country they are often the first rescue services to arrive at the scenes of bomb attacks and work at great personal risk in their efforts to rescue civilians, fight fires caused by bombing, and offer first aid to those in need.
- The Right Livelihood Foundation, a Swedish rights group, said that the White Helmets had won the award for displaying “outstanding bravery, compassion and humanitarian engagement in rescuing civilians”.
- In early September, the White Helmets were among 73 aid groups that suspended ties with the UN, accusing its humanitarian agencies and their partners of being manipulated by the Syrian regime.