STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Organizations from Burundi and Sweden working to overcome ethnic hatred, a Paraguayan torture victim and an Australian scientist were presented Monday with the Right Livelihood award, known as the "Alternative Nobel" prizes.
The awards were handed out at a ceremony in the Swedish parliament a day before the Nobel Prizes are presented.
Sweden's Speaker of Parliament, Bjoern von Sydow, called the winners "indispensable building blocks in the fight for fair, democratic and sustainable development in the world."
Burundi's Centre Jeunes Kamenge -- or the Kamenge Young People's Center -- Sweden's Kvinna till Kvinna women's rights organization, human rights activist Martin Almada of Asuncion, Paraguay, and Martin Green of the University of New South Wales in Australia shared the $215,600 prize.
The award was founded in 1980 by Jakob von Uexkull, a stamp dealer who sold his collection to fund a program to recognize work that he believes is ignored by the prestigious Nobel prizes.
The Centre Jeunes Kamenge, founded by Italian missionaries in 1991, was cited for its efforts to help young people build a future together after nine years of civil war in the central African nation of Burundi.
Kvinna till Kvinna, or Woman to Woman, of Sweden, founded in 1993 in response to the war in the Balkans and atrocities against women, was honored for its successes in healing the wounds of ethnic hatred and war.
"Receiving the award is for us a confirmation that our work is recognized and that women's participation in peacebuilding is a necessity for peace to be established," said Kerstin Grebaeck of the Kvinna till Kvinna organization.
Martin Almada, who was jailed and tortured under the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner, was singled out for his courage and persistent efforts to "bring to account the torturers and to set his country on a new course of democracy."
Professor Martin Green of the University of New South Wales in Australia was acknowledged for his achievements in the harnessing of solar energy.