White Helmets among ‘alternative Nobel prize’ winners

Voluntary aid group shares Swedish Right Livelihood Award with Russian activist, Turkish daily and Egyptian feminist.

Syrian civil defence volunteers, known as the White Helmets, in Aleppo
The White Helmets - the first winner from Syria - has about 3,000 members [Karam al-Masri/AFP]

A voluntary Syrian aid group that assists civilian victims of the country’s civil war has been named as one of the winners of an award often called “the alternative Nobel prize”.

The Right Livelihood Award Foundation cited the White Helmets, also known as Syria Civil Defence, for “outstanding bravery, compassion and humanitarian engagement in rescuing civilians.”

The award was announced on Thursday by the Stockholm-based Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

In all, 125 nominations from 50 countries were considered this year.

The Syrian group – the first winner from that country – has about 3,000 members dedicated to rescuing people from bombed houses, fighting fires and offering first aid, often at great personal risk, the jury said.

The White Helmets and three other recipients were each to receive 750,000 kronor ($88,000).

The other three winners were Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, founder of the Civic Assistance Committee that offers legal aid and education to migrants and refugees, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, which has been at the forefront of Turkey’s struggle for a free press, and Egyptian feminist activist Mozn Hassan and the Nazra for Feminist Studies organisation, which promotes gender equality and rights of women. 

Witness: Syria’s White Helmets

Source: AP