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Snowden makes privacy plea to UN

Whistleblower Edward Snowden accepted the Right Livelihood Award via video link from Russia
Whistleblower Edward Snowden accepted the Right Livelihood Award via video link from Russia

Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who revealed the extent of American and British surveillance programmes, has called on the United Nations to propose new measures to protect individual privacy and human rights.

Mr Snowden, co-winner of the Right Livelihood Award - also known as the "alternative Nobel" - said the award recognises "the work of so many people ... not just over recent years" but over decades, he told the award ceremony in Swedish Parliament by video link from Russia.

"I hope despite all we have accomplished in the last year, we all recognise that this is only the beginning," he said, adding that he could only accept the award collectively.

Mr Snowden, who remains exiled in Russia after leaking NSA documents to journalists in 2013 and faces charges in the US that could land him in prison for up to 30 years, said he has no regrets about his actions.

He said journalists, publishers and activists were among those who had put "so much on the line" and many couldn't go home because they feared arrest, including himself who has been in exile for 18 months.

"These are things that are unlikely to change soon. But they're worth it," he said. "All the prices we paid, all the sacrifices we made, I believe we'd do it again."

"There is so much more to do ... and together we will achieve it," he said, receiving a standing ovation.

Mr Snowden split the honorary portion of the award with Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian newspaper, which has published a series of articles on government surveillance based on documents leaked by Mr Snowden.

The 210,000 US dollar cash portion of the award - was shared by Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jahangir, Basil Fernando of the Asian Human Rights Commission and US environmentalist Bill McKibben.

The Right Livelihood Award foundation typically honours grass-roots activists.


From Belfast Telegraph