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Activists Win Right Livelihood Awards


From left: Rene Ngongo, of Greenpeace; Catherine Hamlin, an Australian doctor who lives in Ethiopia; New Zealander Alyn Ware; and Canadian David Suzuki. The awards ceremony will take place in the Swedish parliament in December.

A Swedish award widely described as the
"alternative Nobel prize" has gone to activists from the Democratic
Republic of Congo, Australia and New Zealand.

Rene Ngongo, of
Greenpeace, was one of the recipients of the annual "Right Livelihood
Award" for his efforts to protect the Congolese rain forest.

Catherine Hamlin, an Australian doctor who lives in Ethiopia, was honoured for her medical research benefiting women.

New Zealander Alyn Ware was recognised for efforts on nuclear disarmament.

Each will also receive 50,000 euros ($74,000) from the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

foundation was set up by Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von
Uexkull in 1980 "to honour and support those offering practical and
exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today".

An honorary award, which does not include any prize money, was given
to the Canadian environmentalist and television presenter David Suzuki
for raising awareness of climate change.

"Despite the
scientific warnings about the imminent threat and disastrous impacts of
climate change and despite our knowledge about solutions, the global
response to this crisis is still painfully slow and largely
inadequate," the Right Livelihood Award Jury said.

"At the same
time, the threat from nuclear weapons has by no means diminished, and
the treatable diseases of poverty shame our common humanity," it added.

"The 2009 Right Livelihood Award Recipients demonstrate
concretely what has to be done in order to tackle climate change, rid
the world of nuclear weapons, and provide crucial medical treatment to
the poor and marginalised."

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