Tag Archives: Sakharov Prize

SAKHAROV 2020: Belarus democratic opposition

Brussels 22.10.2020 The democratic opposition in Belarus has been awarded the 2020 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. (Image: riot police in Minsk, Belarus, attacking peaceful demonstrators, source: social media).

European Parliament President David Sassoli announced the laureates in the Brussels plenary chamber at noon on Thursday, following an earlier decision by the Conference of Presidents (President and political group leaders).

“Let me congratulate the representatives of the Belarusian opposition for their courage, resilience and determination. They have stood and still stay strong in the face of a much stronger adversary. But they have on their side something that brute force can never defeat – and this is the truth. So my message for you, dear laureates, is to stay strong and not to give up on your fight. Know that we are by your side”, President Sassoli said, following the decision.

“I would also like to add a word on the recent killing of one of this year’s finalists, Mr Arnold Joaquín Morazán Erazo, part of the Guapinol environmental group. The group is opposing an iron oxide mine in Honduras. It is imperative that a credible, independent and immediate investigation is launched into this case and those responsible must be held to account”, he added.

Protesting against a brutal regime

The democratic opposition in Belarus is represented by the Coordination Council, an initiative of brave women, as well as prominent political and civil society figures. Read more about the laureates, as well as the other finalists here (Tweet below):

Belarus has been in the midst of a political crisis since the disputed presidential elections on 9 August, which led to an uprising against authoritarian President Aliaksandr Lukashenka and a subsequent brutal crackdown on demonstrators by the regime.

The Sakharov award ceremony will be held on 16 December.

On October 21, Parliament also adopted new recommendations calling for a comprehensive review of the EU’s relations with Belarus.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded each year by the European Parliament. It was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is named in honour of Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov and the prize money is 50 000 euros.

Last year, the prize was given to Ilham Tohti, an Uyghur economist fighting for the rights of China’s Uyghur minority.

EP: Sakharov Prize shortlist

The democratic opposition in Belarus, Guapinol activists and Berta Cáceres, and the archbishop of Mosul were shortlisted for the 2020 Sakharov Prize on October 12.

Following a joint vote by MEPs in the Foreign Affairs and Development committees on Monday 12 October, the finalists for the 2020 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought are:

The democratic opposition in Belarus, represented by the Coordination Council, an initiative of brave women and political and civil society figures;

Guapinol activists and Berta Cáceres in Honduras;

Mgr Najeeb Moussa Michaeel, archbishop of Mosul, Iraq.

The European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (President and political groups’ leaders) will select the final laureate on Thursday 22 October. The prize itself will be awarded in a ceremony in Parliament’s HNemicycle on 16 December.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded each year by the European Parliament. It was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is named in honour of Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov and the prize money is 50 000 euros.

Last year, the prize was given to Ilham Tohti, an Uyghur economist fighting for the rights of China’s Uyghur minority.

Sentsov to receive Sakharov prize in Strasbourg

Ukrainian film director and human rights activist Oleg (43) will visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 26 November to receive in persona the 2018 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

When Parliament’s Human rights prize was awarded last year, Sentsov was in prison in Russia serving 20 years, convicted of terrorism for setting fires to the doors of the offices of the ruling United Russia party in Crimea, and plotting to blow up a monument to Lenin. Sentsov became world famous due to 145 days hunger strike, which evoked a lot of sympathies, and reactions among public, supporting an international campaign for his release.

After serving five years he became one of thirty-five Ukrainian citizens released by Russia in exchange for Ukraine freeing an equal number of Russians.

Uyghur economist wins Sakharov Prize

Ilham Tohti, an Uyghur economist fighting for the rights of China’s Uyghur minority, is the winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2019.

The winner was chosen by Parliament’s political leaders on 24 October 2019.

I am very pleased to announce that the European Parliament has chosen Ilham Tohti as the winner of the 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Tohti has dedicated his life to advocating for the rights of the Uyghur minority in China. Despite being a voice of moderation and reconciliation, he was sentenced to life in prison following a show trial in 2014” said parliament president David Sassoli, while announcing the winner.

By awarding this prize, we strongly urge the Chinese government to release Tohti and we call for the respect of minority rights in China.”

Tajani calls for release of Sentsov

Sakharov Prizie winner Oleg Sentsov  cousin Natalya Kaplan and lawyer Dmitriy Dinze represented him during the ceremony in Strasbourg  Sentsov was not in the Parliament to collect the award in person, because he remains in prison in Siberia.

Oleg Sentsov was nominated for his peaceful protest against the illegal occupation of his native Crimea. Also for his courage, determination and his convictions in support of human dignity, democracy, the rule of law and human rights; these are the values on which our Union is built, even more after the terrible attack of yesterday, values that this Parliament cherishes, upholds and promotes.” the Parliament President Antonio Tajani said, while awarding the Prize.

Sentsov’s hunger strike and courageous public stance made him a symbol of the struggle for the release of political prisoners held in Russia and around the world,” he added. Noting that the award comes against a backdrop of serious tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Tajani called for a de-escalation of the situation and reiterated support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The President called for the immediate and unconditional release of Sentsov and all other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia and the Crimean peninsula as well as other imprisoned laureates: “The Sakharov Prize is not only an award. It is a commitment. And we keep standing close by our laureates.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEPs nominate Sentsov for Sakharov Prize

This week  the European  Parliament president Antonio Tajani and the leaders of the political groups during the Conference of Presidents  meeting will select this year’s winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from among the three finalists. The prize will be awarded in a ceremony in Strasbourg on 12 December.

The biggest  political group – the European Peoples Party (EPP) – has nominated Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov who was sentenced for 20 years’ imprisonment by a Russian court on charges of plotting terrorist acts against Russian authorities in Crimea, in a process deemed unfair by human rights watchdogs.

On 14 May, Sentsov went on hunger strike, lasting over 100 days, to call for the release of around 70 other Ukrainian citizens who are to his opinion illegally arrested and convicted to long prison sentences by Russian judges.

Nadia Murad: from ISIS slave to Nobel prize winner

Iraqi Nadia Murad, the winner of the Sakharov Prize 2016 of the European Parliament shared with Congolese Denis Mukwege the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon in war.

The courage and resilience of Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, in their fight for common human values, deserve the . Proud that the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize has already saluted their extraordinary humanitarian work” wrote the Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament in his microblog.

Captured by soldiers of Islamic state, Murad was transported to Mosul, the de facto “capital” of the ISIS’s caliphate.

During her ordeal Murad and the other women sex-slaves held captive and systematically gang-raped, tortured and beaten.

The terrorists organised slave markets for selling off the women and girls, and Yazidi women were forced to renounce their religion.

Determined to join her family Murad escaped and cross the few dozen kilometres to Iraqi Kurdistan to enter camps of the displaced Yazidi, where, she learnt that her mother and her six brothers were killed. Helped by an organisation that assists Yazidis, she reunited with her sister in Germany. Since then Murad has become a global voice, campaigning against violence.

Sakharov Prize for Catalan political prisoners

Ivo Vajgl, MEP, ALDE, Slovenia, explains the decision of Catalonia Dialogue Platform to nominate Catalan political prisoners in Spain for Sakharov Prize 2018. Vajgl underlined significance of engaging in dialogue to resolve the argument respecting the fundamental freedoms and human rights.

Catalonia former vice-president Oriol Junqueras, ex-Interior minister Joaquim Forn, and activists Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Cuixart remain in prison. Twenty-eight Catalan politicians are being investigated by Spanish Supreme Court judge for their role in the referendum and subsequent declaration of independence. At present all four men are kept in harsh conditions in prison cells with possible charges of rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds for organising the referendum on independence of Catalonia.

The European Parliament supports human rights through the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, established in 1988.  The prize is awarded to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights across the globe, drawing attention to human rights violations as well as supporting the laureates and their cause.

 

Sakharov Prize 2017 ceremony in Strasbourg

Representatives of the democratic opposition of Venezuela have today received Parliament´s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought during a ceremony in Strasbourg.

“The Prize is for all Venezuelans in the world,” said Parliament President Antonio Tajani while awarding the prize. The President noted that the human rights situation in Venezuela was deteriorating and called for a “return to free elections with the participation of all so that the Venezuelan people can decide their future”.

“Last weekend, President Maduro decided in an arbitrary and anti-democratic way to prohibit the main opposition parties from running for the presidential elections. This situation cannot continue like this,” Tajani said. “We want the country to return to democracy, to dignity, and freedom,” he stressed.

 

Accepting the award, Julio Borges, chair of Venezuela’s national assembly, said: “[The Sakharov Prize] is an acknowledgment for mothers denying themselves food to save their children, for children rummaging in the rubbish to satiate their hunger, for old people wasting away to death because of a lack of medicines. A young person who has now emigrated out of despair to seek opportunities elsewhere is another recipient of this prize as is a teacher overcoming ideological blindness and sticking to the task of training free men and women for Venezuela. Or again, those who are fighting for human rights in Venezuela, Venezuelan journalists who take risks throughout their lives in trying to show the true facts that people are trying to keep silent.”, said Mr Julio Borges, President of the Venezuela´s National Assembly.

 

Later on Borges called for humanitarian help, saying: “Hunger has been made into a political system in Venezuela: 75% of Venezuelans have lost 10 kilos weight over the last 12 months.” He also urged the EU and the world to follow the presidential elections attentively.

Sakharov Prize top nominees 2017

The finalists for this year’s Sakharov Prize have been announced. The laureate will be selected on 26 October by the President and the political group leaders.

Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, the Democratic Opposition in Venezuela, and the Swedish- Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak have been named as this year’s finalists for Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought following a vote by the foreign affairs and development committees on 10 October.

The finalists for this year’s Sakharov Prize are:

Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, a human rights defender from Guatemala. She is a member from the Council of Ki’che’ Peoples (CPK), an organisation that fights to protect natural resources and human rights from the expansion of mining, logging, hydroelectric and agro-industry sectors in the territory and has been subject to threats.

Democratic Opposition in Venezuela: National Assembly (Julio Borges) and all political prisoners as listed by Foro Penal Venezolano represented by Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González. The situation in Venezuela has been seriously deteriorating in terms of democracy, human rights and the economy in a climate of growing political and social instability. Political prisoners in Venezuela as as well as the democratic opposition in Venezuela were also shortlisted for the Sakharov Prize in 2015.

Dawit Isaak, a Swedish-Eritrean playwright, journalist and writer, who was arrested in 2001 by the Eritrean authorities during a political crackdown. He has been imprisoned without a trial since and was last seen in 2005. Isaak has been also a Sakharov finalist in 2009.

Asia Bibi, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag and Pierre Claver Mbonimpa had also been nominated for the Sakharov Prize.

On 26 October Parliament President Antonio Tajani and the leaders of the political groups, known as the Conference of Presidents, will select this year’s laureate from among the finalists. The prize, consisting of a certificate and €50,000, will the awarded in a ceremony in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 13 December 2017.

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