Preis für den Wandel von unten
Alternativer Nobelpreisträger kündigt Klage gegen Ölkonzern BP an
Von André Anwar, Stockholm *
Im schwedischen Reichstag wurde am Montag (6. Dez.) der diesjährige Alternative Nobelpreis an Umweltschützer und Bekämpfer der Armut vergeben. Der nigerianischer Preisträger Nnimmo Bassey kündigte eine »historische Klage« gegen den Ölkonzern BP an.
Unter dem Leitthema »Wahrer Wandel beginnt von unten« vergab die Right Livelihood Stiftung den
diesjährigen Preis an Nnimmo Bassey aus Nigeria, Bischof Erwin Kräutler (Brasilien/Österreich),
Shrikrishna Upadhyay und dessen Organisation SAPPROS in Nepal sowie die »Mediziner für
Menschenrechte in Israel«.
Bassey erhielt die Auszeichnung, »weil er die ökologischen und menschlichen Kosten der
Ölförderung aufzeigt und mit seinem Einsatz Umweltbewegungen in Nigeria und der ganzen Welt
stärkt«. Gerade die Ölgewinnung in Nigeria verursache eine Umweltkatastrophe, die selten
thematisiert werde, betonte Stiftungschef Ole von Uexküll. »Das Öl leckt überall aus und
verschmutzt das Land der Bauern. Menschen stehen mit den Füßen im Öl«, sagte er. Bassey erhielt
zur Preisverleihung Applaus, als er mitteilte: »Ich habe letzte Woche zusammen mit Vandana Shiva,
ebenfalls Preisträgerin, und anderen eine historische Klage vor dem Verfassungsgericht von
Ecuador gegen BP und dessen Verbrechen gegen die Natur eingereicht.« Es werde Zeit für die
Völker, »sich zerstörerischen Unternehmensinteressen zu widersetzen, um unseren Planeten zu
Der aus Österreich stammende Bischof Erwin Kräutler wurde geehrt »für ein Leben, den Rechten
indigener Völker gewidmet, und für sein unermüdliches Engagement, den Urwald des Amazonas vor
der Zerstörung zu bewahren«. Kräutler gehört zu jenen Bischöfen in Brasilien, die Seelsorge mit der
Armutsbekämpfung verknüpfen. Dazu gehört der Kampf um Bürgerrechte für die Indios.
Shrikrishna Upadhyay und seine Organisation SAPPROS in Nepal wurden ausgezeichnet, »weil sie
selbst im Angesicht der Bedrohung durch politische Gewalt und Instabilität zeigen, wie die
Mobilisierung von Dorfgemeinschaften Armut überwinden kann«. Upadhyay betonte: »Nepal weist
die höchste Armutsrate in Südasien auf: Zwei Drittel unserer Bevölkerung sind arm.« Dennoch
hätten seine Projekte gezeigt, dass Armut in die Geschichtsbücher verbannt werden kann, »wenn
wir dem Einfallsreichtum der Armen vertrauen«.
Die »Mediziner für Menschenrechte in Israel« wurden geehrt »für ihren unbezähmbaren Geist, mit
dem sie für das Recht auf Gesundheit für alle Menschen in Israel und Palästina einstehen«.
Gründerin Ruchama Marton unterstrich: »Als Menschenrechtsorganisation sind wir per Definition
politisch. Wie kann man die Wunden eines Folteropfers behandeln, ohne den Finger auf den Folterer
zu richten? Wie kann man Diarrhö behandeln – etwa im besetzten Gaza-Streifen, ohne dessen
Ursachen anzugehen: eine Regierungspolitik, die Menschen Zugang zu angemessener
Der schwedisch-deutsche Publizist Jakob von Uexküll stiftete den »Preis für richtige Lebensführung«
1980 aus seinem Privatvermögen. Der Preis versteht sich als sozial orientierte Alternative zu den
traditionellen Nobelpreisen, die nach Meinung Uexkülls von westlichen und konservativ orientierten
Preisträgern dominiert sind.
* Aus: Neues Deutschland, 7. Dezember 2010
Die Preisträger 2010 / The Laureates
Im Folgenden dokumentieren wir die vier Preisträger des Jahres 2010 in dieser Reihenfolge:
Nnimmo Bassey (Nigeria)
Nnimmo Bassey's work as Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria and Chair of Friends of the Earth International has turned him into one of Africa's leading advocates and campaigners for the environment and human rights. Indefatigably, Bassey has stood up against the practices of multinational corporations in his country and the environmental devastation they leave behind destroying the lives and ignoring the rights of the local population.
Nnimmo Bassey was born on 11 June 1958. He qualified as an architect and practiced in the public sector for ten years. He became active on human rights issues in the 1980s as a member of the Board of Directors of Nigeria's Civil Liberties Organisation. In 1993, he co-founded Environmental Rights Action (ERA), a Nigerian advocacy NGO, to deal with environmental human rights issues in the country.
Environmental Rights Action / Friends of the Earth Nigeria
Environmental Rights Action is also known as Friends of the Earth Nigeria and is the national chapter of Friends of the Earth International (FOEI), the world's largest grassroots environmental network. In 2008, Bassey was elected Chair of Friends of the Earth International. The organisation, in coordination with its national chapters and under Bassey's leadership, currently (September 2010) has six major programme areas: climate justice and energy; food sovereignty; economic justice; forests and biodiversity; resisting mining, oil and gas; and water.
Bassey and Environmental Rights Action's major campaigning focus is oil, and the enormous damage being caused to Nigerian communities and other countries in the region (Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Sudan), where oil is produced. He also works on supporting a broad movement across sub-tropical African countries where new finds of oil are being made.
Oil spills & gas flaring in the Niger Delta
It has been estimated that spills equivalent to the size of that from the Exxon Valdez have occurred in the Niger Delta every year over the past 50 years. Bassey says that there are at least 300 (major and minor) spills every year. The Nigerian Government has established that there were more than 3200 spills between 2006 and 2010. Many have not been cleared up; few lead to compensation payments. Life expectancy in the Niger Delta is 41 years, compared to 48 years nationally in Nigeria.
Shell claims that 98% of its spills are caused by theft, vandalism or sabotage by militants and that it is "committed to cleaning up any spill as fast as possible as soon as and for whatever reason it occurs". Environmental Rights Action and the local communities blame rusting pipes and other deteriorating infrastructure and say that often companies are slow to respond. Bassey is convinced that the costs of the oil production are far greater than its benefits so he demands to "leave the oil in the soil".
Environmental Rights Action has led lawsuits against oil companies on behalf of many communities in Nigeria for liability for damage to their people and environment.
Since 1996, Bassey and Environmental Rights Action have led Oilwatch Africa and since 2006 have led also the global South network, Oilwatch International, through which they seek to mobilize communities in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Congo (Brazzaville), Ghana, and Uganda as well as South America and South East Asia to resist destructive oil and gas extraction activities.
In addition to its work on oil spills, Environmental Rights Action has campaigned against gas flaring, winning a landmark ruling by a Nigerian High Court in 2005 that gas flaring is unconstitutional, damages people and the environment, and must stop.
GMOs, biofuels and food sovereignty
The other major area of Environmental Rights Action's work is GMOs (genetically modified organisms), agrofuels and food sovereignty. Friends of the Earth organisations in Africa created a regional campaign in this area in 2004 and Bassey worked as an international campaigner on GMO issues from 2004-2008. In 2009, field-testing of genetically modified cassava was introduced in Nigeria, and Bassey now sees a big risk that African agriculture will be contaminated by GMOs.
Further activities & outreach
In Nigeria, Environmental Rights Action trains people on environmental monitoring and gives legal support to communities affected by environmental damage, with Bassey being directly involved in community monitoring as well as media training for Nigerian journalists. In addition, Environmental Rights Action under Bassey's oversight hosts the secretariat of the Africa Tobacco Control Regional Initiative and coordinates the Nigerian Tobacco Control Alliance.
In 1998, Environmental Rights Action won the Sophie Prize for its work on environmental justice, and in 2009 the Bloomberg Award for tobacco control activism. Bassey was named by TIME magazine as a 2009 Hero of the Environment. He is a writer of poetry as well as of campaigning and research documents. One of Bassey's books is entitled Knee Deep in Crude (2009).
Erwin Kräutler (Brazil)
Erwin Kräutler, a Catholic Bishop motivated by liberation theology, is one of Brazil's most important defenders of and advocates for the rights of indigenous peoples. Already in the 1980s, he helped secure the inclusion of indigenous peoples' rights into the Brazilian constitution. He also plays an important role in opposing one of South America's largest and most controversial energy projects: the Belo Monte dam.
Kräutler was born in Austria on July 12th, 1939, became a priest in 1965 and shortly after went to Brazil as a missionary. In 1978, he became a Brazilian citizen (though also keeping his Austrian citizenship). He worked among the people of the Xingu-Valley, who include indigenous peoples of different ethnic groups. In 1980, Kräutler was appointed Bishop of Xingu, the largest diocese in Brazil. From 1983-1991, and since 2006 he is the President of the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) of the Catholic Church in Brazil.
Kräutler is motivated in his work by the teachings of liberation theology. He teaches that a Christian has to take the side of the powerless and to oppose their exploiters.
Working for indigenous peoples' rights
For five centuries, the population of Brazil's indigenous peoples has constantly decreased - and the downward trend still continues. Today the causes are well-known and documented, including direct (yet rarely investigated) violence in connection with the appropriation of indigenous land; land grabs for energy, settlement, mining, industry, farming, cattle, and agribusiness projects; and military projects for national security that aim to open up areas.
During Kräutler's presidency, CIMI has become one of the most important defenders of indigenous rights, with a focus on land rights, self-organisation and health care in Indian territories. In 1988, CIMI's intensive lobbying helped secure the inclusion of indigenous people's rights in the Brazilian Constitution. The Council has also raised awareness within the Church about indigenous people's issues and rights.
Since 1992 and besides CIMI's advocacy work, Kräutler has continued working tirelessly for the Xingu on the ground. The projects he has initiated include building houses for poor people, running schools, building a facility for mothers, pregnant women and children, founding a 'refugio' for recuperation after hospital treatment, emergency aid, legal support, and work on farmers' rights and land demarcation.
Opposing the Belo Monte dam
For 30 years, Kräutler has been very active in the struggle against the plans for the huge Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River, nowadays heavily promoted by President Lula, which would be the third largest dam in the world. The dam would destroy 1000 square km of forest, flood a third of the capital city, Altamira, and create a lake of stagnant, mosquito-infested water of about 500 square km, which would make life in the rest of the city very difficult. 30,000 people would have to be relocated.
Kräutler's commitment and outspokenness have put him at constant personal risk. In October 1987, some months before the decision to grant full civil rights to indigenous peoples was taken in the constituent assembly, he was seriously injured in a, suspected planned, car crash. Since 2006, Kräutler has been under round-the-clock police protection, partly because he insisted on a full investigation following the murder of the environmental activist Sister Dorothy Stang in 2005 who, since 1982, had worked closely with him. More recently he has received death threats because of his opposition to the Belo Monte dam and because he took legal action against a criminal group involved in sexual abuse of minors.
Awards & books
In 1989, Kräutler received the Grosser Binding-Preis für Natur und Umweltschutz (Principality of Liechtenstein) and in 2009 an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Salzburg, Austria. The citation called Kräutler "the personification of outrage against societal conditions that violate human dignity for all those who consider that human dignity and the preservation of Creation are more than just void words without meaning, and he embodies for us the hope that another world indeed is possible".
Kräutler has written a number of books, most recently Rot wie Blut die Blumen - Ein Bischof zwischen Leben und Tod (Flowers Red as Blood: a Bishop Between Life and Death), published in German in 2009.
Shrikrishna Upadhyay / SAPPROS (Nepal)
Shrikrishna Upadhyay is a Nepalese development practitioner who has empowered more than a million people in rural Nepal to work for the improvement of their living conditions. Through his work with different organisations, he has demonstrated that poverty can be eradicated if the poor are mobilised and organised. A strong advocate of local self-governance, Upadhyay has strengthened Nepalese communities despite the violent political conflict in the country.
Shrikrishna Upadhyay was born in June 1945. He was educated in the U.S. and gained an MS in Economics. Serving as chairman of the board and general manager of the Agricultural Development Bank of Nepal (1982-1990) and as a member of the National Planning Commission of Nepal (1990-1993), Upadhyay came to the conclusion that top-down development does not work.
Thus, in 1975 he helped initiate the Small Farmer Development Programme (SFDP) which yielded substantial achievements in the fields of micro credit, low-cost drinking water supply schemes, tree planting, training and literacy through social mobilisation. In 1991, Upadhyay initiated SAPPROS (Support Activities for Poor Producers of Nepal).
SAPPROS works in the poorest areas of a very poor country: 31 percent of the population live in absolute poverty, according to government figures. SAPPROS' strategy is to develop grassroots level institutions that are self-sufficient, replicable and enable the poor people to self-govern and manage community affairs.
SAPPROS is currently working in 12 districts of Nepal, all but one in the north west of the country. In total, by 2010, SAPPROS had formed 2,434 Savings and Credit Groups and 273 Cooperatives with a membership of 1.3 million of whom about 40% are women.
Under SAPPROS' programmes, the following infrastructure has been installed by the villagers over the years:
- Water-systems (474 for drinking water, 383 for irrigation, 327 tanks, 477 tube wells, 536 sprinklers, 19 cycle pumps, and 672 other irrigation systems)
- 323 km of rural roads, 519 mule and 384 foot trails, 17 suspension bridges and 60 wooden bridges
- 109 health posts, 582 schools and 50 community buildings were either built or rehabilitated.
In addition, from 1991-2010, SAPPROS has helped communities
- manage 67 community forests, covering 2,620 ha, and
- install 3,600 latrines, 105 cooling stores, 102 photovoltaic and 50 biogas systems.
In all these works SAPPROS provides funds, but the community also contributes funds or labour or both. Because of this, under SAPPROS' schemes these installations often cost much less than in conventional development cooperation projects. In total SAPPROS has now worked with 235,000 households.
How SAPPROS works
When working in a new village, SAPPROS first discusses with the participants their way of living and helps them identify positive and negative traditions. Next, they help the villagers analyse the root causes of poverty by conducting a "village survey". SAPPROS asks the villagers to identify their resources like water, land, forests etc., as well as their economic and social status. By asking who is rich and who is poor in the village and why this is the case, collecting data becomes an awareness-raising process. Based on this survey, the villagers choose among them one or more social mobilisers (local catalysts) who organise the implementation of their ideas. SAPPROS advises the villagers on different technical solutions, provides training to the local mobilisers and helps mobilise funding.
SAPPROS has developed manuals for user-groups covering topics such as irrigation, drinking water, forestry and rural roads. The manuals have been used for training by many other NGOs, and have also been utilised by international agencies, such as the UN Development Programme. It has also published a Social Mobilisation Manual, which explains social mobilisation for development.
The most remarkable fact about SAPPROS is that it has been able to conduct this work despite the political instability in Nepal. During the Maoist insurgency, it was often the only NGO left in contested areas and had to work on a razor edge between the warring parties, but it never lost any of its staff.
Upadhyay's experience has been recognised internationally in the form of invitations to act as a consultant for an agricultural credit review in Bangladesh (for the Asian Development Bank), irrigation management in Thailand, rural institutions in Nepal and local governance in Mongolia (UN Development Programme), and community development and integrated crop and food production in Afghanistan. He was a member of the Independent SARC (South Asian Regional Cooperation) Commission on Poverty organised by heads of state of the region in 1991. He has served on several committees in Nepal, among them the Prime Minister's coordination committee on decentralisation.
The Poverty Alleviation Fund
Upadhyay is now actively scaling up the success of community mobilisation in Nepal through a new institution, the Poverty Alleviation Fund. Upadhyay is a board member of the fund, and the Prime Minister is its chairman. The fund is supported by IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) and the World Bank, and the idea is to channel money directly to the communities, with NGOs and local governments as advisors and mobilisers, but avoiding the state bureaucracy. He hopes that the fund will soon be working in all 75 districts of Nepal, reaching almost 3 million people through thousands of community organisations.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (Israel)
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHRI) is an organisation of Israeli and Palestinian physicians that stands at the forefront of the struggle for human rights – particularly the right to health – in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. PHRI lobbies the state of Israel, demanding that all residents of Israel and Palestine get the same access and right to health care regardless their legal status, nationality, ethnicity or faith. PHRI also provides health services to those residents of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory who otherwise would not receive proper health care.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHRI) was founded in 1988 at the start of the Intifada by Dr. Ruchama Marton and Israeli and Palestinian physicians, motivated by the conviction that “every person has the right to health in its widest possible sense, as defined by the principles of human rights, social justice and medical ethics”.
PHRI’s activities are a mixture between the direct delivery of health and health awareness services (e.g. through its clinics) to disadvantaged populations, and campaigning against bureaucratic restrictions that prevent these populations gaining access to mainstream health services and against the policies and repression that create the disadvantage in the first place.
PHRI’s work is organised in a number of departments:
- Clinics: a mobile clinic taking health services to excluded populations in the occupied Palestinian territory; women’s clinics working to empower Palestinian women within their society by raising their awareness of health-related issues; and an Open Clinic in Jaffa, which sees over 100 patients each evening.
- The Prisoners and Detainees Department working for the health rights of prisoners and detainees and against injurious solitary confinement, torture, and other inhuman treatment of prisoners.
- The Migrants and Undocumented People Department, which campaigns for the concept that any person resident in Israel should be entitled to social rights (health, welfare and education) regardless of his or her legal status.
- The Department for Status-less Persons, including the Open Clinic, servicing over 250,000 people residing in Israel without civil status including foreign workers and their families, asylum seekers from around the world, Palestinian women and children in Israel who lost their status following the 2003 Citizenship Law, collaborators and alleged collaborators from the West Bank and Gaza, victims of human trafficking, and many others living in Israel without legal status.
- The Residents of Israel Department, advocating for a more inclusive Israeli public health system that eliminates the health inequalities between Israeli residents living in peripheral rather than central districts, between Arab and Jewish citizens, and between poor and rich communities, and that includes a broader basket of health services.
- The Right to Health in the Unrecognised Negev Villages project, seeking to promote the right to health for the 180,000 Bedouins living in Israel. Most cannot access basic health care; their villages lack sufficient medical clinics, mother child health care clinics, and gynaecological, paediatric, and other specialist services. Further, Bedouins live without the underlying determinants of health like clean water, electricity, and a hazard-free environment.
- The Occupied Palestinian Territory Department, which campaigns among other things against the extreme difficulties that residents of the occupied territories experience when they have to cross checkpoints for medical reasons.
PHRI has also started campaigning against the inappropriate carrying out of anti-anthrax experiments on Israeli soldiers.
From January to July 2009, PHRI (all departments) received 2259 appeals by individuals from different communities whose right to health was violated and who needed representation vis-a-vis the authorities. These applications for assistance are in addition to the individuals who come to PHRI’s clinics for direct medical aid – 16,599 patients during this period of time. PHRI’s volunteer medical staff donated 9179 work hours and its administrative volunteers and translators 3886 work hours. At the end of 2009, the organisation had 1000 members.
Gaza closure: Continuing the work under most difficult circumstances
With the Gaza closure and Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2008 the work of PHRI has become even more difficult. That year, for the first time and due to Israel’s closure of the Gaza crossings, which made it extremely difficult for Palestinian patients to cross the border, PHRI started taking its mobile clinic into Gaza as well as the West Bank, making eight medical trips and four deliveries of medical equipment. Hundreds of patients were examined and counseled, and 37 surgeries performed, as well as two trainings conducted to treat emotional trauma. In 2009, PHRI only got permits for three such trips.
Between January and June 2010, 5620 Palestinians received medical care through PHRI’s mobile clinics. PHRI’s members aided 787 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza to receive exit and entry permits for medical care outside of the occupied territory, and helped 454 Palestinians navigate the Israeli health system to receive medical care in Israeli hospitals.
Founder, Awards & Network
The founder and continuing president of PHRI is Dr. Ruchama Marton. In the late 1990s, Marton was especially active against the torture of Palestinian prisoners, her campaign culminating in 1999 with the Supreme Court making it illegal. Later that year, she and PHRI received Israel's highest human rights honour, the Emil Grunzweig Award for Human Rights. Marton, and the Palestinian Salah Haj Yehya, who is PHRI’s Field Work Director, received the Jonathan Mann Award in 2002.
PHRI is a member of the International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organisations. It is funded by a range of national and international foundations and companies.
Quelle: Website des Right Livelihood Award, www.rightlivelihood.org
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