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Lawyers, reporter honoured by Right Livelihood

Updated tisdag 26 september 2017 kl 16.59
Published tisdag 26 september 2017 kl 09.07
Awards director: Laureates are inspiring to so many others
(7:12 min)
The 2017 Right Livelihood Award laureates. From left to right: Yetnebersh Nigussie, Robert Bilott, Khadija Ismayilova, Colin Gonsalves.
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The 2017 Right Livelihood Award laureates. From left to right: Yetnebersh Nigussie, Robert Bilott, Khadija Ismayilova, Colin Gonsalves. Credit: Right Livelihood Foundation
Maina Kiai, a Kenyan lawyer and human rights activist, was one of the jury members this year.
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Maina Kiai, a Kenyan lawyer and human rights activist, was one of the jury members this year. Credit: Radio Sweden
Maina Kiai (left) and Ole von Uexkull, director of the NGO Right Livelihood Award Foundation, announce this year's laureates.
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Maina Kiai (left) and Ole von Uexkull, director of the NGO Right Livelihood Award Foundation, announce this year's laureates. Credit: Radio Sweden

The 2017 Right Livelihood Award has been awarded to an American, an Azerbaijani, an Indian and an Ethiopian.

The awards are sometimes referred to as the "alternative Nobel Peace Prize".

This year, the Honourary Award went to Robert Bilott, a lawyer who fights polluting companies.

The cash award of SEK 3 million will be split among Colin Gonsalves in India, who has fought legal battles for human rights, Yetnebersh Nigussie in Ethiopia for work with people with disabilities, and journalist Khadija Ismayilova in Azerbaijan who exposes corruption.

After the announcement was made in Stockholm on Tuesday morning, Maina Kiai, one of the jury members, talked to Radio Sweden about what made these four laureates stand out.

"Khadija is a journalist par-excellence," Kiai said, for example. "She's brave, she's courageous... She's taken up a taboo subject, corruption - and not just corruption, but corruption by the first family."

The Right Livelihood Foundation was founded by Swedish-German Jakob von Uexkull, an environmentalist and philanthropist. His nephew Ole von Uexkull is the executive director of the foundation, and told Radio Sweden that the laureates' work gives "practical information about what can be done about global problems."

Previous laureates of the Right Livelihood Award have included the Syrian White Helmets and Edward Snowden.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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