Alternative Nobel Prize 2021 for defenders of human rights and the environment | DW | 29.09.2021

Marthe Wandou

This Cameroonian peace and gender equality activist has been campaigning against sexual violence and for the rights of children and women for decades. Marthe Wandou’s organization, “Action Locale pour un Développement Participatif et Autogéré” (ALDEPA), founded in 1998, applies a holistic approach that includes education, prevention work, psychosocial support and legal assistance, and is based on the mobilization of entire communities.

ALDEPA’s work has already benefited more than 50,000 girls, mainly in northern Cameroon, a region influenced by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, where girls do not have access to education, suffer violence and are forced to marry. Still, Wandou managed to study law in Yaoundé.

Vladimir Sliwyak

Vladimir Slivyak is one of the most committed environmentalists in Russia. He is a co-founder of the influential NGO Ecodefense. At 48, he has repeatedly managed to challenge and even stop fossil fuel projects, the use of nuclear energy and the transport of radioactive waste, a feat by no means easy under Russia’s authoritarian regime.

Wladimir Sliwyak, defender of the environment in Russia

Ecodefense was the first Russian environmental group to launch an anti-coal campaign in 2013. In 2014, construction of the Kaliningrad nuclear power plant, in the Russian enclave of the same name, came to a halt after the NGO repeatedly alerted opinion. public and international partners about the dangers.

Despite increasing harassment from the Russian authorities, Sliwyak has persisted and is an example for the young generation of climate activists.

Freda huson

Freda Huson is an advocate for Indigenous Canadians who feel attached to their ancestral lands and demand a voice on construction projects.

The 57-year-old woman is a leader of the Wet’suwet’en ethnic group. Since 2010 he has lived in the territory of his people in British Columbia and founded the Unist’ot’en ​​camp, a center of the resistance there. Huson and his campaign companions oppose the construction of a gas pipeline that threatens to cross the indigenous territory.

Huson combines the struggle of indigenous peoples for the protection of the environment and the right to land and their culture. Indigenous people in Canada have been the victims of serious crimes, as evidenced by the discovery of graves in a Catholic boarding school.

Legal Initiative for Forests and the Environment (LIFE)

The Indian NGO “Legal Initiative for Forests and Environment” (LIFE) aims to achieve environmental justice. It was founded in 2005 by attorneys Ritwick Dutta and Rahul Choudhary, who saw how difficult it was to litigate for the right to water, for example.

LIFE supports communities to defend themselves against environmental threats, such as construction projects or deforestation. It has also helped to hold industrial polluters responsible for the damage they cause to the environment and public health.

The organization played an important role in the establishment of the “National Green Court” by the Government of India in 2010. The court specializes in environmental claims and is equipped to deal with complicated and multidisciplinary cases.

LIFE bridges the gap between the Indian judicial system and defenders of natural resources and wildlife. The initiative empowers communities across the country to confront powerful interests that threaten the well-being of people and nature.

(jov / er)

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Alternative Nobel Prize 2021 for defenders of human rights and the environment | DW | 29.09.2021

Hank Gilbert