Rigoberta Menchú Tum


Rigoberta Menchú Tum

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Rigoberta Menchú Tum
The Nobel Peace Prize 1992

Born: 9 January 1959, Aldea Chimel, Guatemala

Residence at the time of the award: Guatemala

Prize motivation: “for her struggle 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 indigenous woman Rigoberta Menchú was awarded the Peace Prize for her work for the rights of indigenous peoples and reconciliation between ethnic groups. Indigenous organizations lobbied for her nomination, they 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.

To cite this section
MLA style: Rigoberta Menchú Tum – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Fri. 29 Sep 2023. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1992/tum/facts/>

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

Coming up

This year’s Nobel Prize announcements will take place 2–9 October. All announcements will be streamed live here on nobelprize.org.

See the full schedule
Announcement dates

Explore prizes and laureates

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