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
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

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
Malala donates $50,000 to reconstruct schools in Gaza

29-10-2013 The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai donated $50,000 towards the reconstruction of schools in Gaza, through the United Nations relief agency UNRWA. Malala announced the donation after the World Children's Prize for the rights of the child in Marienfred, Sweden. She said that children in Gaza had suffered from conflicts and war. The money would help children get “quality education” and continue their life, knowing they were not alone and that people were supporting them, she said. More
EP Human Rights Resolutions
Pakistan: the situation following the Peshawar school attack
15-01-2015: Parliament strongly condemns the "brutal massacre of schoolchildren" on 16 December 2014 perpetrated by the Pakistani Taliban splinter group Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) as "an act of horror and cowardice". It calls on the government of Pakistan to take "urgent and effective measures" in keeping with internationally recognised standards on the rule of law and to strengthen its efforts to arrest and prosecute TTP militants. It also urges the government to abide by the recently ratified international agreements on human rights and "to reserve anti-terrorism laws for acts of terror, instead of using them to try ordinary criminal cases". Source: EP Press Release More
Freedom of expression in Turkey
15-01-2015: MEPs condemn the police raids and arrests of journalists in Turkey in December. They call on the Turkish government to address media freedom as a priority, recalling that "a free and pluralistic press is an essential component of any democracy" and pointing to the need to make progress with reforms in order to gain pre-accession funding. Source: EP Press Release More
Russia: the case of Alexei Navalny
15-01-2015: Parliament underlines that the conviction of the lawyer, anti-corruption campaigner and social activist Alexei Navalny and the sentences passed on him and his brother, Oleg Navalny, were "based on unsubstantiated charges" and deplores that the prosecution "seems to be politically motivated". It calls for the judicial proceedings in the Navalny cases to be "free of political interference" and to meet internationally accepted standards. MEPs fully back the campaign against corruption initiated by Alexei Navalny and state their concerns at the "possible political use of a family member to intimidate and silence" Alexei Navalny. . Source: EP Press Release More
Kyrgyzstan: homosexual propaganda bill
15-01-2015: MEPs express deep concerns at the potential adoption of the bill on "dissemination of information about non-traditional sexual relations" currently under review in the parliament of Kyrgyzstan and call for its withdrawal. They reiterate that "sexual orientation and gender identity are matters falling within the sphere of the individual right to privacy, as guaranteed by international human rights law" and call on the Commission, the Council and the External Action Service "to make clear to the Kyrgyz authorities that the eventual adoption of this bill could affect relations with the EU in line with Article 92 (2) of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement". Source: EP Press Release More
The situation in Libya
15-01-2015: Parliament calls on the EU to support the efforts by the United Nations by immediately enacting its own targeted sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans, for those responsible for armed violence and human rights violations and abuses. It is deeply concerned by "the increasing presence of Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups, Islamic State militias and other extremist organisations and movements" in the country and believes that these groups represent a major threat to the stability and security of the whole region, including Europe. The parliament stresses the need "to ensure accountability for all violations of human rights and international humanitarian law". Source: EP Press Release More
The situation in Ukraine
15-01-2015: EU sanctions against Russia should stay in place until it changes its aggressive policy in Ukraine, respects the ceasefire, withdraws its troops and stops supporting separatists, says Parliament in a resolution voted on 15 January. MEPs condemn “acts of terrorism” in Ukraine. urge the EU to come up with a plan to counter the Russian "information war" and help Ukraine to carry out reforms, cope with its humanitarian and health emergency and enhance its defence capabilities. Source: EP Press Release More
The situation in Egypt
15-01-2015: MEPs remind the Egyptian Government that "the long-term success of Egypt and its people depends on the protection of universal human rights and on the establishment and anchoring of democratic and transparent institutions". They expresses grave concern at the "ongoing restrictions of fundamental rights, notably the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, political pluralism and the rule of law", and call for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience. Source: EP Press Release More
Annual report on the activities of the European Ombudsman 2013
15-01-2015: MEPs stress the citizen's right to good administration, and endorse the European Ombudsman's calls for more transparent policymaking and an information campaign on the TTIP talks, in a resolution voted on 15 January. They also reiterate that the Ombudsman has a crucial role in addressing citizens' concerns and helping the EU institutions become more open, effective and citizen friendly. Source: EP Press Release 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
The European Parliament votes to recognise Palestinian Statehood
17-12-2014: The European Parliament supports "in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced". A resolution drawn up by five political groups and passed by Parliament as a whole, decided to launch a "Parliamentarians for Peace" initiative to bring together MEPs and MPs from the Israeli and Palestinian parliaments More
The case of the two Italian ‘marò
15-01-2015: The European Parliament hopes that diplomatic dispute between Italy and India over the prosecution of two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012 during anti-piracy operations will soon be settled, under Italian jurisdiction and/or through international arbitration, it says in a resolution voted on 15 January. Members also called for the marines to be repatriated, as their detention without charge is a "serious breach of human rights". Source: EP Press Release More
The situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration
17-12-2014: MEPs call for a comprehensive EU approach to migration and more effort to prevent further loss of life at sea. Parliament asks the civil liberties committee to assess the various policies at stake, draw up a set of recommendations and report back to plenary with a "strategic initiative report" before the end of 2015. At least 3,072 people died in the Mediterranean Sea in the first nine months of 2014. Source: EP Press Release 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