Rigoberta Menchú Tum

Facts

Rigoberta Menchú Tum

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Rigoberta Menchú Tum

Born: 9 January 1959, Aldea Chimel, Guatemala

Prize motivation: "in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples."

Prize share: 1/1

Work for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

In 1992 the western world celebrated that it was 500 years since Columbus reached America. In the same year, the Guatemalan Indian woman Rigoberta Menchú was awarded the Peace Prize for her work for the rights of indigenous peoples and reconciliation between ethnic groups. She had been nominated by Indian organizations, who wanted to draw attention to the fact that the European discovery of America had entailed the extermination and suppression of indigenous populations.

Rigoberta grew up in a country marked by extreme violence. Several members of her own family were killed by the army, which was hunting down opponents of the regime. She herself fled to Mexico in the early 1980s, where she came into contact with European groups that were working for human rights in Latin America. With time, Rigoberta began to favor a policy of reconciliation with the authorities, and Norway served as the intermediary in negotiations between the government and the guerrilla organizations. A peace agreement was signed in 1996. Rigoberta Menchú herself became a UN Ambassador for the world's indigenous peoples.

Copyright © The Norwegian Nobel Institute

To cite this section
MLA style: Rigoberta Menchú Tum – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2018. Mon. 12 Nov 2018. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1992/tum/facts/>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.