Green Cross’s Paul Walker hailed at 2013 Right Livelihood Award ceremony in Stockholm

The 2013 Right Livelihood Award was today presented to Green Cross International’s Paul Walker from the United States, Raji Sourani from Palestine, Denis Mukwege from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Hans R. Herren from Switzerland. The Award Ceremony will be taking place in the Swedish Parliament, Second Chamber.

In their award acceptance speeches, the laureates refered to the current state of chemical weapon abolition and the next steps to be taken to accomplish their global elimination; highlighted the human rights situation of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation and the power of international law, if applied. Also, solutions were presented that can end the massive rapes of women in Congo and secure a safe and sustainable global food supply.

“Syria’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention in September is a major, historic step forward toward full universality of the abolition regime, but six countries still remain outside of the CWC – Angola, Egypt, Israel, Myanmar, North Korea, and South Sudan,” said Dr Walker (pictured second from left), Director of Green Cross International’s Environmental Security and Sustainability progrmme.

“Now that Syria has become the 190th State Party, it is time that both Israel and Egypt, the only two remaining Mideast countries outstanding from the CWC, join the Convention, and begin working towards a complete Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East.”

RAJI SOURANI (Palestine): “International law, and international human rights law, recognises our dignity, our worth, and our value as individuals. It says that we are all equals, regardless of our nationality, our gender, or age, or our financial situation. It is this sense of equality that has been missing so far, and which must be established. In Palestine, as in so many other situations around the world, until we are recognised as human, as equals, there can be no progress.“

DR. DENIS MUKWEGE (DRC): “The peoples of the African Great Lakes region are waiting impatiently for the implementation of the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation, which is the first peace deal tackling the root causes of violence in the DRC and in the region. It’s a last-chance agreement and it requires the unwavering political courage of the signatory states and the international community for its effective implementation.

There will be no peace without justice and the struggle against impunity is one of the keys to ending violence against women.“

DR. HANS RUDOLF HERREN (SWITZERLAND): “How can we nourish the world in fifty years’ time, given the uncertainties resulting from climate change, growing population and diminishing natural resources? The answer to this question is to change course in global agriculture, that business as usual is not an option and a new paradigm, beyond the green revolution, is needed, and fast. The new paradigm needs to address agriculture’s multifunctionality, and its key role in the three sustainable development dimensions: environment, society and economy… in that order.”

Jakob von Uexkull, Founder and Co-Chair of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation (pictured far right), who presented the Awards, said: “While we all have different visions of our preferred futures, our key task now is to ensure that the range of possible choices and freedoms for future generations is expanded and not limited further. This is the function of the Right Livelihood Award. It does not propagate one worldview or future. It celebrates human diversity and it celebrates hope, that inner fire of those who walk their talk and do not give up. Today, we celebrate four exceptional individuals who every day prove us right in our belief in hope – the force that makes us take big steps when even small steps seem impossible.”

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