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Awards

'Alternative Nobel Prize' awarded for fight against chemical weapons

The 2013 winners of the Right Livelihood Awards from the US, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Palestinian territories and Switzerland have been fighting chemical weapons, human rights abuses and world hunger.

2013 Right Livelihood Award winners

Paul Walker from the US was honored for his fight against chemical weapons. The 67-year-old was described by the Right Livelihood Organization on Thursday as having been key to "leveraging over one billion dollars annually in programs for disarmament“ leading to the safe elimination of "more than 55,000 metric tons of chemical weapons from six declared national arsenals."

Raji Sourani is the first Right Livelihood Award winner from the Palestinian territories. The human rights lawyer based in the Gaza strip was honored for 35 years of promoting human rights and documenting violations committed in the territories occupied by Israel. Sourani has been imprisoned several times both by the Israelis and the Palestinian authorities.

Denis Mukwege (pictured above) from the Democratic Republic of Congo receives the award for his work with women survivors of war-time sexual violence. The chief surgeon of a hospital in Congo's eastern region of Kivu and his colleagues have treated 40,000 rape victims and raised awareness on the Congolese war, despite threats on their own lives.

The fourth laureate, Hans Herren, is one of the world's leading experts on biological pest control, helping African farmers increase their yield in a sustainable way.

“This year's group of Laureates secure the fundamentals of human life. They show that we have the knowledge and the tools to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, to secure respect for human rights, to end the war on women in eastern Congo, and to feed the world with organic agriculture," said Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation on Thursday.

The awards will be presented in a ceremony in the Swedish Parliament on December 2, 2013.

Founded in 1980 by Jakob von Uexkull, the Right Livelihood Awards are presented annually in the Swedish Parliament and are often referred to as ‘Alternative Nobel Prizes'. This year, there were 94 proposals from 48 countries.

Find full profiles of the 20013 laureates here.

rg/jpj (AFP, KNA, EPD)

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