Brazilian bishop wins the Right Livelihood Award

by Rich Heffern

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On Dec. 6 Bishop Erwin Kräutler received the Right Livelihood Award, often referred to as the Alternative Nobel Prize. The International Rivers blog reports on his award and the work he has done to oppose the Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River in the Amazon.

Austrian-born Bishop Erwin Krautler was one of four recipients of the Right Livelihood Award. He is the bishop of Xingu and oversees the largest diocese in Brazil, encompassing about 142,000 square miles (367,780 sq. kilometres) with vast swaths of jungle. He was chosen "for a lifetime of work for the human and environmental rights of indigenous peoples and for his tireless efforts to save the Amazon forest from destruction," according to the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

Krautler has been working to promote indigenous rights in a largely lawless region since 1980, focusing on land access, self-organization and health care. He dedicated the award to those who work with him to protect the Amazon and its peoples, especially those who have given their lives in the struggle.

His life has been threatened repeatedly both for his activism and for his insistence on a full investigation into the murder of Sister Dorothy Stang in 2005.

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