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NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been awarded an honorary Right Livelihood Award.  (Photo: © The Guardian; source:  Right Livelihood Award)

Edward Snowden Awarded 'Alternative Nobel' for Revealing Vast Surveillance

This year's Right Livelihood Laureates demonstrate that "we can turn the tide."

Andrea Germanos

Whistleblower Edward Snowden is among a group of tireless and courageous people being honored with this year's Right Livelihood Award for their efforts "stemming the tide of the most dangerous global trends."

The winners of this year's award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, were announced Wednesday.

The Right Livelihood Award Foundation, which stated that it will fund legal support for Snowden, said his honorary award recognizes “his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights."

The impact of his revelations, the Foundation states, "have caused a worldwide re-evaluation of the meaning of privacy and the boundaries of rights."

Sharing the honorary award with Snowden is author and editor of the Guardian Alan Rusbridger "for building a global media organization dedicated to responsible journalism in the public interest, undaunted by the challenges of exposing corporate and government malpractices."

The three others who will share a cash award are climate crusader Bill McKibben, Pakistani human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir, and Sri Lankan human rights activist Basil Fernando.

"This year's Laureates demonstrate... we can turn the tide and build our common future."
—Ole von Uexkull
The Foundation states that 350.org co-founder McKibben is being honored "for mobilizing growing popular support in the USA and around the world for strong action to counter the threat of global climate change.”

Jahangir's laudable work has included three decades of "continuously speaking truth to power" and "relentless campaigning against laws that discriminate against women," despite assaults and threats made against her.

Fernando's "pivotal" work has spanned three decades as well. One of his accomplishments is leading the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), an organizations whose radical work has advanced human rights, for nearly 20 years.

"This year’s Right Livelihood Laureates are stemming the tide of the most dangerous global trends," stated Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

"With this year’s Awards, we want to send a message of urgent warning that these trends—illegal mass surveillance of ordinary citizens, the violation of human and civil rights, violent manifestations of religious fundamentalism, and the decline of the planet’s life-supporting systems—are very much upon us already," von Uexkull's statement continues. "If they are allowed to continue, and reinforce each other, they have the power to undermine the basis of civilized societies."

"But the Laureates also demonstrate that the choice is entirely in our hands: by courageous acts of civil disobedience in the public interest, through principled and undeterred journalism, by upholding the rule of law and documenting each violation of it, and by building social movements to resist the destruction of our natural environment, we can turn the tide and build our common future on the principles of freedom, justice, and respect for the Earth," he continued.

The awards will be presented December 1 at the Swedish Parliament.


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