The Winners of the Petra Kelly Prize

The Heinrich Böll Foundation perceives the Petra Kelly Award as a political statement. Among the winners are the famous Columbian politician Ingrid Betancourt and Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai. ➤ Recent articles and publications on the Petra Kelly Prize.

The Petra Kelly Prize is endowed with € 10,000. The Heinrich Böll Foundation views the awarding of the Petra Kelly Prize as a political statement. The publicity, financial support, and political recognition related to the award should help to foster the advancement of the awarded person's or group's concern.

Prize Winner 2012: Ales Bialiatski

The Petra Kelly Prize 2012 was awarded to Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski. Bialiatski founded the organization “Viasna” (Spring”) that gives legal and financial support to political prisoners and their families.

In 2011 Baliatski was sentenced to four years in prison for alleged tax evasion. Since he never admitted his guilt, he is suffering many sanctions as a prisoner. The jury thus honoured his commitment to the fight for political prisoners despite his personal risks.

Prize Winner 2010: Marianne Fritzen

In 2010, German Marianne Fritzen was awarded with the Petra Kelly Prize. For more than 30 years Fritzen is involved in the anti-nuclear movement.

According to the jury, Fritzen was awarded as a symbol for nonviolent resistance. Moreover their decision meant to encourage the anti-nuclear movement. The fight against nuclear energy and nuclear weapons was one of Petra Kelly’s key concerns.

Prize Winner 2008: Zhang Sizhi

The Petra Kelly Prize 2008 was awarded to the Chinese attorney and human rights lawyer Zhang Sizhi. Known as the “lawyer’s conscience”, Sizhi has defended many regime critics. He is now 85 years old and an inspiring example for China’s young lawyers.

The jury honoured his engagement in defending human rights and encouraging a fair and independent jurisdiction in China.

Prize Winner 2006: Yurij Shmidt

In 2006 the Heinrich Böll Foundation awarded Russian attorney and human rights activist Yurij Shmidt with the Petra Kelly Prize. With the award the foundation honoured Shmidt´s unique position in Russian justice and his commitment to human rights issues. As a lawyer he defended government critics such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Yurij Shmidt died in January 2013 in St. Petersburg after a long battle with cancer.

Prize Winner 2004: Wangari Maathai

With the award the foundation honoured Kenyan politician and environmental activist Maathai's unique position in African politics and her commitment to environmental issues. Like with the 2002 prize that went to Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, the foundation wanted to draw attention to the diversity of the international Green movement.

Prize Winner 2002: Ingrid Betancourt

With the award the jury honoured politician Ingrid Betancourt’s outstanding struggle to end the violence and the countless violations of human rights that have shattered Columbia for decades. In her characteristic as a courageous green politician who has never ceased to stand up for democracy, respect for human rights, and civil conflict resolution without concern for personal dangers, Ingrid Betancourt stands in a continuous line with Petra Kelly. Beyond the borders of Columbia she has become a symbol, earning much respect and affection, and honouring her means making an acute political statement for the support of democracy and the ecological movement in Latin America.

The politician, former presidential candidate and founder of the green party "Oxigeno Verde" was, along with a colleague, kidnapped by the Columbian FARC-Guerilla in February 2002. Ingrid Betancourt was a hostage of the FARC-Guerilla until July 2008.

Prize Winner 2000

The Petra Kelly Prize 2000 was awarded to the Mapuche-Pehuenche Indians, Berta and Nicolasa Quintreman Calpan, from Chile. Both sisters, who are farmers living within their traditional culture in the Bio-Bío river valley in southern Chile, are leading activists in the Chilean civil rights movement against the flooding of Pehuenche land through the building of the Ralco Dam.

With the award of the prize, the international jury acknowledges the non-violent and courageous commitment of these women who are representative of the resistance against the construction of mega-dams – projects which always entail the expulsion or forced resettlement of people and often have disastrous consequences for the eco-system of an entire region.

Prize Winner 1998: UNPO

The first Petra Kelly Prize was awarded to the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) in 1998.

The UNPO, founded in 1991, is an association of nations and peoples which are not represented in the prominent international organisations such as the UN. The UNPO is an independent forum for more than 42 members (status 2012), providing them with the opportunity to formulate and give voice to their interests.