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Alternative Nobels to US, Spain, Chad, China

Thu, 09/29/2011 - 1:13am
KARL RITTER - Associated Press - Associated Press

Solar power technology and efforts to protect the rights of birthing mothers, victims of dictatorship and farming communities were rewarded Thursday with the Right Livelihood Awards, sometimes referred to as the alternative Nobel prizes.

Human rights activist Jacqueline Moudeina of Chad; Spanish-based nonprofit GRAIN; and American midwifery educator Ina May Gaskin will share the euro150,000 ($205,000) cash award.

Chinese solar power pioneer Huang Ming receives an honorary award for developing "cutting-edge technologies."

The awards were founded by Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull in 1980 to recognize work he felt was being ignored by the Nobel Prizes.

Modueina was honored "for her tireless efforts at great personal risk to win justice for the victims of the former dictatorship in Chad and to increase awareness of human rights in Africa."

As president of the Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, she represents victims of former President Hissene Habre, who is accused of torturing hundreds of his opponents to death during his tenure in the Central African nation from 1982 to 1990.

Gaskin founded the Farm Midwifery Center in Summertown, Tennessee, in 1971. Since then she has assisted some 1,200 unmedicated births, according to the citation.

"A pioneer in a millennium-old profession on the brink of extinction in her country, she combines scientific evidence and analysis with her own broad experience in exercising natural medicine," the citation said.

Barcelona, Spain-based GRAIN is an international organization that supports farmers and rural communities in the developing world against corporate power.

The jury cited GRAIN's "worldwide work to protect the livelihoods and rights of farming communities and to expose the massive purchases of farmland in developing countries by foreign financial interests."

The prizes will be presented to the recipients in a ceremony at the Swedish Parliament on Dec. 5, five days before the Nobel Prizes are handed out.

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