Network Latest News
Martin Schulz remains SPN co-Chair and new Vice President for the SPN appointed
15-09-2014: EP President Martin Schulz remains co-Chair of the Sakharov Prize Network and EP Vice President Ulrike Lunacek has been given the responsibility for the Sakharov Prize Network in a decision taken by the Bureau of the European Parliament. The Bureau is headed by the President of the European Parliament and includes the 14 Vice-Presidents and the five Quaestors elected by Parliament for a period of two and a half years. More
Upcoming SPN activities
October-December 2014: a busy period commences for the Sakharov Prize Network with human rights events being organised in European Union Member States and the United States around the worldwide human rights day on 10 December. The Network is also invited to participate in the annual World Democracy Forum and the EU-NGO Forum organised respectively by the Council of Europe and the European Union's External Action Service. Laureates are being invited to participate in events on their areas of expertise and action, and according to specific requests by the Human Rights Actions Unit's partners including European Parliament Information Offices around the EU. The events aim to raise awareness of human rights issues around the EU and bring Laureates closer to the European public whose directly-elected representatives nominate outstanding human rights defenders annually for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. More
Leyla Zana addresses concerns to EP President Schulz and Sakharov Laureates
07-08-2014: Sakharov Prize Laureate and Kurdish representative in the Turkish Parliament Leyla Zana has addressed an official letter EP President Schulz and Sakharov Prize Laureates exhorting both to protect and aid vulnerable communities whose lives and cultures are being threatened by the turmoil in the Middle East. More
EP President Schulz appeals for the release of Razan Zaitouneh


10-3-2014: opening the plenary session of the European Parliament, the President of the European Parliament and co-Chair of the Sakharov Prize Network Martin Schulz called on behalf of the European Parliament for the release of kidnapped Syrian Sakharov Prize Laureate Razan Zaitouneh. More

Three Sakharov Laureates jointly support Palestinian accession to the ICC
08-09-2014:Sakharov Prize Laureates Nurit Peled from Israel, Salima Ghezali from Algeria and Taslima Nasreen from Bangladesh, published an opinion expressing concern about certain, unnamed, EU Member States' opposition to the Palestine joining the International Criminal Court and calling on "leaders and representatives of the EU, to actively and openly encourage the Palestinian Authority to join the ICC". More
Laureates Latest News
Nasrin Sotoudeh begins sit-in against 3-year suspension
21-10-2014: Nasrin Sotoudeh today began a sit-in in front of the Tehran Bar Association headquarters following its ruling to suspend her from practising law for three years. She wants to draw attention to her suspension: the first issued by the Bar Association following a court order. Ms Sotoudeh warns that other lawyers are also at risk of losing their law licences. She was joined in the protest by fellow Sakharov Prize Laureate from Iran Jafar Panahi and many of her clients, colleagues and activists. The police dispersed the protest after some hours and confiscated the camera of a journalist working for AFP, deleting pictures of the protest. More
Malala Yousafzai wins the Nobel Peace Prize
09-10-2014: Sakharov Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai and Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi were awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education". Malala is the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Prize, just as in 2013, at age 16, she became the youngest person to be awarded the Sakharov Prize. Malala said she was "honoured" to receive the award, adding it made her feel "more powerful and courageous". More
Hu Jia fears for his life under increasingly brutal harassment in China
15-09-2014: Chinese Sakharov Prize Laureate 2008 Hu Jia is being threatened with death and his family, including his 7-year old daughter, are being threatened and harassed daily says his wife Zeng Jinyan. In a letter to the European Parliament supported by Front Line Defenders, Ms Zeng, herself a Sakharov Prize nominee, calls for the European Parliament to increase its support for Hu Jia. More
Razan Zaitouneh kidnapped in Syria with her husband and two other activists

Razan Zaitouneh

09-12-2013 Razan Zaitouneh has been kidnapped in Syria on Tuesday with her husband and two other activists. Human rights activists alerted HRAC to the kidnapping which took place on Tuesday 9-2-13 in Douma, a rebel-controlled area of Syria. More
EP Urgency Resolutions
Closing down of Memorial in Russia
23-10-2014: Parliament strongly condemned "the Russian Ministry of Justice's appeal to the Supreme Court to close the independent rights organisation Memorial", urging the Ministry of Justice "to withdraw its lawsuit before the scheduled hearing". The European Parliament called on the Russian authorities "to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against the Memorial Society, the Memorial Human Rights Centre, their members and all human rights defenders in the Russian Federation, and to ensure that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities in all circumstances without any interference". More
Human rights in Uzbekistan
23-10-2014:The relations between the EU and Uzbekistan "must be based on mutual respect for the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights", stressed the European Parliament. MEPs urged for "an immediate and unconditional release of all persons imprisoned on politically motivated charges, held for peaceful expression of their political views, civil society activism, journalistic activity or religious views". The Parliament called "Uzbek authorities not to allow torture, to put an immediate and unconditional stop to all forms of torture and abuse in prison and ill-treatment in pre-trial detention and penal facilities, including by ensuring unhindered access to counsel at all stages of investigations". More
Disappearance of 43 teaching students in Mexico
23-10-2014: Parliament strongly condemned "the unacceptable forced disappearances and crimes in Iguala" calling "on the Mexican authorities to investigate all the crimes, including the finding of 28 bodies in clandestine graves". MEPs urged the relevant authorities "to take all necessary steps to act promptly to identify, arrest and bring to justice the perpetrators of the crimes" until the students have been brought to safety. The European Parliament asked to the Mexican Government "to take actions that will prevent events like those in Iguala from ever occurring again", condemning all forms of violence, in particular "the violence and persistent death threats against activists engaged in promoting and defending freedom of speech and human rights". More
EP Latest News
Dr Denis Mukwege wins the 2014 Sakharov Prize
M.MukwegeCourtesy of Stichting Vluchteling
21-10-2014:Dr Denis Mukwege, a doctor from the Democratic Republic of Congo who is dedicating his life to helping the victims of the violence in Eastern DRC is the winner of the 2014 Sakharov Prize. EP President Martin Schulz announced that he was chosen by a unanimous vote by the European Parliament's Conference of Presidents.
Mr Schulz also announced to the press gathered to hear the announcement of the 2014 winner that the Conference of Presidents, representing all political groups in the European Parliament had decided to invite the representatives of the Ukrainian EuroMaidan movement, also shortlisted for the Prize, to Dr Mukwege's award ceremony in Parliament in November. He said that the European Parliament wants to show its support to the EuroMaidan movement by inviting its representatives to underline its full support to the people of EuroMaidan.
The Conference of Presidents has also decided to send immediately a delegation to Azerbaijan composed of the representatives of every group in the European Parliament to meet and support Ms Yunus in her fight for freedom and democracy in the country," President Schulz added, referring to the third shortlisted nominee, Leyla Yunus, a prominent human rights defender currently in jail in Azerbaijan on charges of espionage and treason widely-believed to be politically-motivated. More
EP support to Memorial against attempts to close it down
21-10-2014:the European Parliament's Conference of Presidents also backed President Schulz's action in support of Memorial, Sakharov Prize Laureate 2009 from Russia, which is currently being targeted by judicial authorities in the country in an attempt to close it down.
"The Conference of Presidents unanimously backed a letter I sent today to the Russian government. We are very worried about the measures the Russian government is taking about our Sakharov Laureate Memorial. This is for us a very important point because Memorial is the organisation administrating the legacy of Andre Sakharov, the man who gave the name to our Sakharov award", Mr Schulz said. More
EP grills High Representative-designate Mogherini
06-10-2014:the designate High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, currently Foreign Minister of Italy, handled a three and a half hour grilling from the Members of the EP's Foreign Affairs Committee in an assured manner, winning Parliament's support for her nomination to take over from Lady Ashton in the new EU leadership. Mogherini will also be Vice-President of the new European Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker that will be approved or rejected as a whole by Parliament in a vote on 22 or 23 October 2014. If approved, the Commission is expected to start work on 1 November 2014. More
As IS advances, the situation of refugees in Syria and Iraq worsens
13-10-2014:experts from the UN and NGOs gave alarming accounts of the refugees' situation in Syria and Iraq during a Human Rights Subcommittee hearing. “No conflict has ever seen so many deaths, so many refugees, so many internally displaced people in so little time”, said Frej Fenniche, a representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). If the international community does not provide help immediately, many people may not make it through the winter, warned Leyla Ferman, the co-president of the Yezidi Federation of Europe. More