Alternative Nobel prize to Western Sahara

Human rights defender Aminatu Haidar from Western Sahara is awarded the prestigious Right Livelihood Award in Sweden for 2019, with, among others environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

Published 26 September 19

Human rights activist Aminatu Haidar is awarded the Right Livelihood Award for sitt «ikkevoldelige arbeid, til forsvar for rettferd og selvbestemmelse for Vest-Saharas folk, til tross for fengsling og tortur».  

The award, handed out annually in Stockholm, is often referred to as the ‘alterntive Nobel peace prize’ in view of the background of how the prize was first established.  

Ole von Uexkull, director of the Right Livelihood Foundation, expressed that «Aminatou Haidar’s courage and determination to organise nonviolent resistance and speak up internationally is an inspiration for everyone who believes in justice».

«The Sahrawi people have been suffering under Moroccan occupation for more than 40 years and any opposition is brutally punished», von Uexkull told.

Haidar receives the award together with the Chinese lawyer Guo Jianmei, climate activist Greta Thunberg and the Brazilian indigenous leader Davi Kopenawa. The prize is given together with 1 million Swedish kroners, to be spent on the work of the prize winners.

«This is a recognition of my non-violent struggle and the just cause of the Sahrawi people. Despite military occupation and violations of fundamental human rights, they continue their peaceful struggle. The Sahrawis deserve to be supported by all so that, one day, they will achieve independence and freedomt», Haidar told.

Haidar has been through several rounds of torture. She has spent four years in Moroccan jails for her work. 

Haidar has been in Norway several times. In 2016, she attended the Oslo Freedom Forum - see her speach on Oslo Freedom Forum here.

The award is formally given at a ceremony in Stockholm on 4 December. 

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