World News

Myanmar activist awarded Asia's Nobel prize

MANILA (Reuters) - An activist from Myanmar who was tortured by the military as a student and now runs an NGO probing infrastructure projects is among this year’s winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, its committee said Monday.

Also cited for the award, Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel, were two Chinese men, an Indian, a Filipino and a Thai woman.

Ka Hsaw Wa of Myanmar, co-founder of EarthRights International, was recognized for “dauntlessly pursuing non-violent yet effective channels of redress, exposure, and education for the defense of human rights, the environment and democracy,” the committee said.

Yu Xiaogang of China was given the award for raising concerns about dams in his country and advocating social impact assessments in all such mega-infrastructure projects.

Ma Jun, also of China and a former journalist, was awarded for publicizing environmental issues in China, including naming over 10,000 companies violating emission standards.

Indian Deep Joshi, who has management and engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was cited for decades of development work in rural India, and founding a non-profit organization that recruits university graduates and grooms them to do grassroots projects in poor communities.

Antonio Oposa Jr., a Filipino environmental activist and lawyer, was awarded for helping protest abuse of marine eco-systems, including organizing sea patrols to raid boat operators engaged in illegal dynamite fishing.

Krisana Kraisintu of Thailand was recognized for her work in producing generic drugs for HIV/AIDS victims, many times cheaper than the multiple pills from pharmaceutical companies. She has worked both in Thailand and in sub-Saharan Africa.

Reporting by Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Rosemarie Francisco and Bill Tarrant