Each year, the European Parliament awards the Sakharov Prize to honor outstanding individuals and organizations that defend human rights and fundamental freedoms. Last year, the prize was awarded to the leader of the Russian opposition Alexei Navalny for his fight against corruption and human rights violations committed by the Kremlin.
Any candidacy must be supported by at least 40 Members of the European Parliament or by a political group. This year’s nominations were presented at a joint meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Development and the Sub-Committee on Human Rights, which took place in Brussels on September 26, 2022. The nominees are:
- the courageous people of Ukraine, represented by their President, Mr Volodymyr Zelensky (proposal from the EPP Group);
- the Ukrainian people (proposal by the S&D and Renew Europe groups);
- Sônia Guajajara (Greens/EFA proposal);
- President Zelensky (proposal from the ECR group);
- the Truth Commission in Colombia (proposed by The Left/GUE-NGL);
- Shireen Abu Akleh (proposed by Grace O’Sullivan and 42 other Members of the European Parliament);
- Julian Assange (proposed by Sabrina Pignedoli and 40 other Members of the European Parliament).
The courageous people of Ukraine, represented by their President, Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskywas nominated by the group EPP. The unprovoked war of aggression that Russia has been waging against Ukraine since February 2022 is inflicting enormous losses on the Ukrainian people in terms of human lives and towns and villages reduced to ruins. The nomination is a reminder that Ukrainians are fighting to protect their homes, their sovereignty, their independence and their territorial integrity, but every day they are also fighting on the battlefields for freedom, democracy, the state of law and European values.
The groups S&D and Renew Europe nominated the Ukrainian people, thus emphasizing the role of citizens, representatives of civil society initiatives and public institutions. The candidacy proposal mentions, among others, the Ukrainian state rescue service, Yulia Payevska (founder of the medical evacuation unit “Angels of Taira”), Oleksandra Matviychuk (human rights activist) , the Yellow Ribbon civil resistance movement and Ivan Fedorov (former mayor of the Ukrainian city of Melitopol).
The group RCT nominated the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as the face of the courage of the Ukrainian people, highlighting their courage, endurance and dedication to their people and to European values.
Sonia Guajajarawhose candidacy was proposed by the Greens/EFA, is an environmental and indigenous activist in Brazil. As the leader of an alliance of indigenous peoples, she campaigns for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples to retain control of their lands. Her commitment has brought her into conflict with the Brazilian authorities and the powerful agricultural and mining lobbies seeking to take control of indigenous territories.
The Truth Commission in Colombianominated by The Left/GUE-NGL, is an institution created in the context of a 2016 peace agreement that ended the Colombian civil war that year. It aims to shed light on the human rights violations committed during the conflict and to defend the rights of the millions of victims of this war. This nomination – which mentions the names of Francisco de Roux, Alejandro Valencia Villa, Marta Ruiz Naranjo, Alfredo Molano Bravo (posthumously), Alejandro Castillejo, Saúl Alonso Franco, Lucía Victoria González, Patricia Tobón Yagarí, Alejandra Miller, Leyner Palacios, Ángela Salazar Murillo (posthumously) and Carlos Martin Beristain – pays tribute to the victims of the civil war and is presented as an opportunity to support the peace process.
Shireen Abu Aklehnominated by Grace O’Sullivan and 42 other MEPs, had been a Palestinian-American reporter for the Al Jazeera news channel for 25 years. She was one of the most renowned journalists in the Arabic-speaking world for her reporting on the conflict in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. On May 11, 2022, she was shot and killed while covering an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank.
Julian Assangeone of the activists of the WikiLeaks association, was nominated by Sabrina Pignedoli and 40 other MEPs. He has provided the world’s largest newspapers with documents reporting war crimes, arbitrary detentions, human rights violations and acts of torture. He is being held in prison in the UK and is currently at risk of being extradited to the US to stand trial for espionage and computer misuse.
the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded annually since 1988 to individuals or organizations that defend human rights and fundamental freedoms. This prize was named in honor of Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov and comes with a sum of 50,000 euros.
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Nominations for the 2022 Sakharov Prize | News | European Parliament
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