One of Africa’s leading human rights advocate, Mr Nnimmo Bassey has been awarded the 2012 Rafto Prize in recognition of his long-term fight for people’s right to life, health, food and water in a world affected by complex and threatening climate change and mass environmental destruction.
Bassey, a 54 year old Nigerian Architect is the Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action and Chair of Friends of the Earth International. He has been at the fore front of environmental rights campaign in Nigeria for over two decades, and often fights against multinational oil corporations that have for decades polluted Nigeria’s oil rich Niger Delta region.
Announcing the award today, Rafto said through his rights based work and criticism of prevailing systems, Bassey has shown how human rights can help mitigate the effects of these changes.
By awarding its annual prize to Nnimmo Bassey, the Rafto Foundation underlines how the challenges we face regarding climate and the environment also have a human rights aspect.
Congratulating Mr. Bassey on behalf of the Norwegian government, Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide said “The prize is recognition of Nnimmo Bassey’s tireless efforts to raise awareness of the human rights dimensions of the challenges we face in relation to climate change and the environment,”
“We hope this award will inspire further efforts to combat pollution caused by oil companies in the Niger Delta. Mr Bassey has himself experienced political oppression and knows all too well that for most people the fight for the environment goes hand in hand with the fight for political power,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås.
The 2012 Rafto Prize will be awarded at the National Venue of Theatre in Bergen, Norway, on Sunday 4 November 2012.
Established in 1987, the Rafto Foundation in Bergen, Norway, was established in 1987, in gratitude of his longstanding work to help people who are oppressed and persecuted, and in the realization that this work must be ongoing.