3 share ‘Alternative Nobel,’ US lawyer gets honorary award


COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The “Alternative Nobel” was given to four people Tuesday for their “courageous work” in human rights, public health and good governance.

The prize foundation announced the 2017 winners as Indian human rights lawyer Colin Gonsalves, Azeri journalist Khadija Ismayilova and Ethiopian lawyer Yetnebersh Nigussie. American environmental lawyer Robert Billott was given an honorary award. The three others share a cash award of 3 million kronor ($374,000).

The award’s official name is the Right Livelihood Award. Gonsalves was cited “for his tireless and innovative use of public interest litigation over three decades to secure fundamental human rights for India’s most marginalized and vulnerable citizens.”

The Stockholm-based award committee said Ismayilova had shown “courage and tenacity” in exposing corruption in her native Azerbaijan “through outstanding investigative journalism in the name of transparency and accountability.”

Nigussie was tapped “for her inspiring work promoting the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities.”

The award committee cited Cincinnati attorney Billott “for exposing a decades-long history of chemical pollution, winning long-sought justice for the victims, and setting a precedent for effective regulation of hazardous substances.”

Created in 1980, the annual Right Livelihood Award honors efforts that prize founder, Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull, felt were being ignored by the Nobel Prizes.


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