Canadian Inuit leader receives intn’l award

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Sheila Watt-Cloutier in Iqaluit, Nunavut in 2007. This week she received an award in Sweden for her work defending Inuit rights. (Chris Windeyer/The Canadian Press)
Sheila Watt-Cloutier in Iqaluit, Nunavut in 2007. This week she received an award in Sweden for her work defending Inuit rights. (Chris Windeyer/The Canadian Press)
The fight against nuclear weapons in the Pacific, the rights of the Inuit of the Arctic, emergency health care in war zones and LGBTQ-rights in Africa were rewarded on Thursday morning as the 2015 Right Livelihood awards were announced in Stockholm.

The winners were Marshallese politician Tony de Brum and the People of the Marshall Islands, Canadian activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Ugandan activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera and Italian physician Gino Strada and his non-profit organization Emergency.

De Brum and the People of the Marshall Islands were awarded the honorary award “in recognition of their vision and courage to take legal action against the nuclear powers for failing to honour their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”.

The Right Livelihood Honorary Prize is awarded annually “to honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today”.

The honorary winners do not receive the customary SEK 500,000 prize money, which the other three winners will obtain.

Defending Inuit rights

Watt-Cloutier was rewarded “for her lifelong work to protect the Inuit of the Arctic and defend their right to maintain their livelihoods and culture, which are acutely threatened by climate change.”

Nabagesera received the prize “for her courage and persistence, despite violence and intimidation, in working for the right of LGBTI people to a life free from prejudice and persecution.”

Finally, Strada was rewarded “for his great humanity and skill in providing outstanding medical and surgical services to the victims of conflict and injustice, while fearlessly addressing the causes of war.”

The Right Livelihood Award Foundation often calls its distinction the “alternative Nobel prize.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Nunavut gets EU exemption for seal products, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  Sámi politician calls Finland “racist country”, Yle News

Greenland: What the EU seal ban has meant for Inuit communities in the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Norway:  Norway visa rules worry indigenous peoples, Barents Observer

Sweden:  Sami demand rights as indigenous people, Radio Sweden

Russia: Russia brands Arctic indigenous organization as “foreign agent”, Barents Observer

United States:  Arctic conference spotlights indigenous issues, Alaska Dispatch News

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