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Right Livelihood Awards, or 'alternative Nobels,' to activists helping minorities, victims


HELSINKI — The foreign minister and the people of the Marshall Islands were honored Thursday for taking legal action against the nuclear powers for failing to honor disarmament obligations.

Tony de Brum and the people of the Pacific island group shared the honorary portion of the 2015 Right Livelihood Award, sometimes referred to as the "alternative Nobel."

This year's 3-million-kronor ($358,500) cash award was shared by three activists — Canada's Sheila Watt-Cloutier, for her supports to Inuit causes; Uganda's Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, for her struggle for sexual minorities' rights; and Italian surgeon Gino Strada, for providing medical assistance to victims of war.

Created in 1980, the annual Right Livelihood Award honors efforts that prize founder, Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull, felt were being ignored by the Nobel Prizes.

Foundation director Ole von Uexkull — the award creator's nephew — said this year's winners "stand up for our basic rights," including those of indigenous peoples, and gay and other sexual minority groups, and "the right of all citizens to live in a world free from the scourges of war and climate chaos."

The awards will be presented in the Swedish Parliament on Nov. 30.

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