Monday, May 20, 2024


Sweden: Alternative Nobel Prize Highlights Threats to Low-Lying Island Nations

The Marshall Islands has become the first country to receive the Right Livelihood Award, picking up the Alternative Nobel Prize for its efforts to encourage nuclear disarmament and to fight climate change.

  • A low-lying island nation was singled out for praise at this year’s Right Livelihood Awards, picking up an “Alternative Nobel Prize” for its efforts to encourage nuclear disarmament
  • The Marshall Islands launched a bold legal challenge earlier this year, threatening the world’s nuclear powers with legal action for failing to honour their disarmament obligations
  • The Right Livelihood Honorary Award was collected by Tony de Brum, the country’s Foreign Minister, on behalf of the approximately 75,000 citizens of the Marshall Islands

Marshall Islands Receives Alternative Nobel Prize

Marshall Islands' Minister Tony de Brum with RLA founder Jakob von Uexküll and Farhad Vladi of Vladi Private Islands

Marshall Islands’ Minister Tony de Brum with RLA founder Jakob von Uexküll and Farhad Vladi of Vladi Private Islands

The Right Livelihood Award Foundation (RLA) took the unusual step to single out an entire country at its 36th annual “Alternative Nobel Prize” celebration, presenting the prestigious Honorary Award to the people of the Marshall Islands at a star-studded ceremony in Stockholm.

The tiny island group was singled out for its vision and courage to take legal action against the nuclear powers for failing to honour their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and customary international law and for its passionate attempts to raise awareness of the consequences of global warming.

Outstanding Vision and Courage in the Fight for Nuclear Disarmament

The low-lying Pacific island nation has long-since been a vociferous campaigner in the fight for nuclear disarmament. In 2014, however, the country took its campaign against the nuclear weapons to new heights, declaring unprecedented legal action against the world’s nine nuclear powers for failing to fulfill their legal obligation to disarm – a “flagrant denial of human justice” in the eyes of the Marshallese.

As well as increasing political pressure on the likes of Russia, the US, Great Britain and France, it is hoped that the lawsuit – filed as part of the Nuclear Zero campaign – will raise awareness of the consequences of the nuclear arms race on a global scale.

After all, the people of the Marshall Islands have more experience than most when it comes to the devastating effects of nuclear weapons. The islands were the site of 67 highly controversial nuclear tests between 1946 and 1958, including the “Bravo Shot” – a 15 mega-ton device “equivalent to a thousand Hiroshima blasts.” The terrible consequences of this war against humanity continue to be felt today.

Repaying a Debt to Future Generations of Our Planet

One of the witnesses of the nuclear tests was 9-year-old Tony de Brum – now the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Invited to Sweden to collect the award on behalf of his people, de Brum commended the RLA’s “courage” to grant the award in a rousing acceptance speech, before promising to continue the country’s fight for nuclear disarmament with renewed vigour:

“For me, the work to address the plight of all affected peoples continues with renewed determination. We owe it to the nuclear victims and nuclear survivors, but most importantly we owe it to the future generations of our planet.”

About The Right Livelihood Award

The Right Livelihood Award (widely known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize” was established in 1980 in order to honour and support individuals and groups who “[offer] practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.”

Formed by Jakob von Uexküll primarily as a reaction to the Nobel Prize’s failure to recognize human development and environmental work, the award has gone from strength to strength, celebrating a total of 162 Laureates from 67 countries at an annual ceremony in the Swedish Parliament

Vladi Private Islands & Private Island News are proud to support the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

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