The Sakharov Prize: championing human rights
In the coming days, Parliament’s website will feature a series of articles
to mark the week leading up to the awarding of the 2005 Sakharov prize for
freedom of thought. The prize, named after a former Soviet dissident, is
awarded annually to the person or group who are judged to have made a
“particular achievement” in the promotion and protection of freedom of
The award recognises achievement in the field of human rights, protecting
minorities, defence of international cooperation or the development of
democracy and the rule of law. The winner will be announced on 20 October
and the award comes with ?50,000 in prize money. The 2005 finalists are:
“Ladies in white” (“Damas de Blanco”) of Cuba: This group of women have been
protesting peacefully every Sunday since 2004 against the continued
detention of their husbands and sons who are political dissidents in Cuba.
They wear white as a symbol of peace and the innocence of those imprisoned.
Hauwa Ibrahim: Of humble birth, she has risen to be a leading Nigerian human
rights lawyer. She represents women who face being stoned to death for
adultery and young people facing amputation for theft under Islamic Sharia
“Reporters without Frontiers”: This international organisation campaigns for
press freedom throughout the world. It also champions the protection of
journalists and other media professionals from censorship or harassment.
All candidates come from a shortlist compiled by the Parliament’s Foreign
Affairs Committee who considered nominations from political groups and
individual MEPs. The Conference of Presidents (the chairpersons of all
political groups in the Parliament) will choose the eventual winner.
Over the next few days we will have detailed profiles of all the nominees as
well as further information on the Sakharov prize. Should you wish to learn
more about this event, please read the article on Frequently Asked Questions
The Sakharov prize is not the only way in which Parliament upholds respect
for human rights and democracy. To learn more, please see the background
note on human rights and the European Parliament in the press section of the
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