Right Livelihood Award for Justice Christopher Weeramantry
The Right Livelihood prize, the so-called ‘alternative Nobel prizes’,
was awarded on Friday evening at Swedish Parliament in Stockholm to
peace and environmental activists from Sri Lanka, Kenya, Canada and
Justice Christopher Weeramantry was among them.
Accepting the prize, Justice Weeramantry called for peace education
to all levels of the public from schoolchildren right up to the
He pointed out that there is a vast amount of unawareness of the work
of the great peace philosophers of the past, of the peace movements and
of the peace conferences. When this knowledge is more generally
available there will be a great increase in peace-related activity on
the part of the public.
“Science careering uncontrolled is one of the greatest dangers that
humanity faces in this technological age. Probing the causes of the rich
world / poor world dichotomy, and devising ways of promoting better
understanding of the problems of the developing world.
This also involves a study of the legacies of colonialism and the
ways in which they can be corrected. The growing disparity between North
and South is a potential cause of major conflicts in the future,” he
He said the world must ponder on how the world’s repositories of
ancient wisdom can be harnessed to strike a balance between the needs of
development and the needs of environmental protection.
He said it is not commonly known that at least 15 basic principles of
international law, achieved through the sacrifice of millions of lives,
are absolutely violated by the nuclear weapon.
Universalising international law and making it more acceptable
internationally was also essential. Seeking to resolve the mutual lack
of understanding between the worlds of Islam and Christianity should
also be a priority.
“Legal professions need to be weaned away from their exclusiveness
and remoteness from the people they serve.
I have written extensively on this subject and this has resulted in
the institution of a Law Day or Law Week in various countries including
Australia and Sri Lanka, during which the legal profession goes out into
schools and public places to explain the legal system to the public,” he