अदालत मानव अधिकार

India’s Human Rights Lawyer Colin Gonsalves Named 2017 Right Livelihood Award

Press Release Stockholm, 26 September 2017


India’s Human Rights Lawyer Colin
Gonsalves Named 2017 Right Livelihood

Award Laureate

Colin Gonsalves, one of the most notable human rights lawyers of his generation, has been
announced a Laureate of the 2017 Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the ‘Alternative
Nobel Prize’. Gonsalves is Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India and the founder
of the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN).
Colin Gonsalves is recognised by the jury “for his tireless and innovative use of public
interest litigation over three decades to secure fundamental human rights for India’s most
marginalised and vulnerable citizens”.
The announcement was made today at the International Press Centre at the Swedish
Ministry for Foreign Affairs by Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood
Award Foundation, and Maina Kiai, Jury member and former UN Special Rapporteur on the
rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
Upon receiving the news, Gonsalves commented: “I am both humbled and privileged by the
Award. It comes at a time when India is going through a dark period and human rights
activists are under siege. The platform the Foundation provides will help us strengthen
democratic resistance at this critical stage.”
Over three decades, HRLN’s lawyers have engaged in public interest litigation to hold the
government to account and secure a broad spectrum of human rights. Gonsalves’ clients
have included India’s most vulnerable people, such as bonded labourers, ethnic and
religious minorities, refugees, slum dwellers, marginalised women and the poor.
Gonsalves’ most significant victories in the courtroom include the 2001 “Right to Food”
case, which saw India’s Supreme Court issue far reaching orders enforcing a free midday
meal for all schoolchildren and subsidised grain for over 400 million Indians living below the
poverty line.
More recently, in 2016 and 2017, Gonsalves obtained landmark judgements from the
Supreme Court that ended the


Ole von Uexkull commented: “Colin Gonsalves has built a network of lawyers all over India
who help the most disadvantaged people access their rights. His famous Right-to-Food case
at the Indian Supreme Court, for instance, has given 400 million people better nutrition. At a
time when India, like many countries, is becoming more authoritarian, Colin and his lawyers’
network play a crucial role in defending the Indian democracy.”
The 2017 cash award of SEK 3 million (EUR 315,000) is shared equally by Colin Gonsalves,
the investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova (Azerbaijan) and activist Yetnebersh Nigussie
(Ethiopia) who is promoting the rights of people with disabilities. This year’s honorary award
goes to the American lawyer Robert Bilott, responsible for one of the most significant
victories for environmental law and corporate accountability of this century.
Ole von Uexkull said: “This year’s Laureates protect the rights and lives of citizens across
three continents. With their courageous work for human rights, public health and good
governance, they tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges at their very core. At
a time of alarming setbacks for democracy, their successes show us the way forward towards
a just, peaceful and sustainable world for all.”
For further information and to arrange interviews with Colin Gonsalves or other Laureates,
please contact Johannes Mosskin, Director of Communications, mobile: +46 (0)70 43 71
148, e-mail: johannes@rightlivelihood.org
Further details on the Laureates, alongside high-resolution photographs and videos are
available at: http://www.rightlivelihoodaward.org/2017
About the Award:
Established in 1980, the Right Livelihood Award honours and supports courageous people
and organisations offering visionary and exemplary solutions to the root causes of global
problems. In total there are now 170 Laureates from 69 countries. In addition to presenting
the annual award, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation also supports the work of its
Laureates, particularly those whose lives may be in danger due to the nature of their
About the selection process:
Anyone can propose candidates to be considered for a Right Livelihood Award. Through
this open nomination process, the Foundation receives a clear indication of what citizens
around the world consider to be the most pressing issues me, and the individuals

who dedicate themselves to solving them. After careful research by the Foundation’s
research team, reports on the current proposals are submitted to the Foundation’s board
and international Jury. The Jury meets annually in September to select the Recipients. This
year, the jury considered 102 nominations from 51 countries.

#RightLivelihood2017 www
.rightlivelihood.org @rlafoundation



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