Free Razan
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#FREE RAZAN action supported by MEPs and Sakharov Prize Laureates
17-12-2014: Members of the European Parliament and Sakharov Prize Laureates together with civil society activists photographed above are calling for freedom for Razan Zaitouneh and for the three activists kidnapped with her one year ago on 9 December 2013 in the rebel-held area of Douma in Syria. The four, known in social media as the Douma 4 are still missing, believed to be alive, but their whereabouts are unknown. No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Razan bravely denounced all those committing human rights violations in the Syrian conflict, government and rebels alike.
Many MEPs are supporting the campaign calling for the freedom of the Douma 4, among them the European Parliament President Martin Schulz, Vice President for the Sakharov Prize Network Ulrike Lunacek, Chair of the Committee on Development and co-Chair of the Democracy and Election Coordination Group (DEG) Linda McAvan, Chair of the Subcommittee of Human Rights and DEG Member Elena Valenciano, Chair of the Conference of Delegation Chairs and DEG Member Pier Antonio Panzeri, Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee Eduard Kukan, Chair of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Heidi Hautala, Chair of the Delegation for relations with Afghanistan Petras Auštrevi ius, Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights Barbara Lochbihler, Vice-Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament Maria Heubuch, and Vice-Chair of the Delegation for relations with the countries of the Andean Community and DEG Member Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, and former EP President Jerzy Buzek.
Sakharov Prize Laureates Denis Mukwege, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Iran, Asmaa Mahfouz, Egypt, Ahmed El Senussi, Libya, Damas de Blanco, Cuba, Reporters without Borders represented by Olivier Basille, France, the Belarusian Association of Journalists represented by Zhanna Litvina and MichaB Janczuk, Belarus, and Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Israel, are also supporting the call as well as the EU's High Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis and many NGOs. Razan's sister Reem and the NGO Razan co-founded, the Violations Documentation Centre have also expressed their support of this action. This call is being supported by MEPs, Laureates and the public through social media, by tweeting using the #FreeRazan #Sakharov and posting photos of themselves holding up a paper with these same words. More
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
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
Andrei Sakharov died 25 years ago
17-12-09-2014:On the evening of 14 December 1989, the wife of Soviet dissident and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov found her husband dead on the floor in his study in Moscow. The man who gave the Sakharov Prize his name died of a heart attack at the age of 68 while preparing a speech he was to deliver before Congress the next day. On the occasion, Polish Member of European Parliament Jacek Saryusz-Wolski paid tribute to this "great Russian". More
Laureates Latest News
Assassination attempt on Guillermo Farinas: Damas de Blanco call for help
28-11-2014: A man attacked Guillermo Fariñas with a knife, injuring two men and two Ladies in White, one of them, Maria Arango Percival, severely, who were stepping in to defend the 2010 Sakharov Laureate. The incident occurred on 25 November during a meeting of the "Anti Totalitarian Front" (Frente Antitotalitario Unido FANTU), represented by Fariñas with the participation of representatives of 2005 Laureate Damas de Blanco, discussing visa issues of Cuban dissidents. Several witnesses reported that the perpetrator, José Alberto Botell Cárdenas, escaped right after the attack in a white car belonging to state security. He was arrested the next day. Damas de Blanco as well as Guillermo Fariñas accuse the Cuban government for being responsible for the attack, Fariñas speaking of "concrete plans for the elimination of opponents". One day after the attack, Damas leader Berta Soler sent a letter to President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, calling for attention to the on-going repression in Cuba and for the support of the European Union. The Damas also ask for the support of the Sakharov Prize Network. The President expressed his support for the Damas via Twitter. Meanwhile, repression of Cuban opposition continued in November, resulting again in dozens of arrested Damas alone. More
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
The 2014 Sakharov Prize is awarded to Denis Mukwege
Finalists EuroMaidan and Yunus invited to the award ceremony for the first time
26-11-2014: "Today the European Parliament is sending a strong signal to the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo," EP President Schulz said in awarding the European Parliament's 2014 Sakharov Prize to Dr Denis Mukwege in recognition of his admirable work as a medical doctor in Eastern Congo, and honouring "the man who struggles for women's dignity, for justice and peace in his country".
"The European Parliament also wishes to honour the other two finalists of the 2014 Sakharov Prize by inviting their representatives here today: the EuroMaidan Movement in Ukraine represented by Ielyzaveta Schepetylnykova, and Dinara Yunus the daughter of Leyla Yunus, founder of the Institute for Peace and Democracy in Azerbaijan, and currently imprisoned under conditions which put her life in serious danger. The European Parliament calls for her immediate release. By hosting you here today for the Sakharov ceremony, the European Parliament wanted to acknowledge your courage and your commitment to democratic values and affirm our strong support," President Schulz said. More
25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children
26-11-2014:On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, the European Parliament "welcomes the fact that the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for their commitment to defending children's rights, in particular the right of all children to education". Parliament furthermore "commends the public endorsement by the Sakharov Prize Network of initiatives to raise awareness of violence against children" and considers these "to be clear demonstrations of the important role played by civil society and international organisations in advocacy and in the promotion and protection of the rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child". More