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Sakharov Prize debate and vote at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

The Irish Centre for Human Rights together with the Office of the European Parliament in Ireland are holding an event to mark the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Tuesday 18 October, 2011 at 5:00pm


For information on the event, please contact Dr Vinodh Jaichand  at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Tel: +353.91.492819,

Since 1988, in the spirit of Andrei Sakharov, the European Parliament has awarded the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in order to honour individuals or organisations for their efforts on behalf of human rights and fundamental freedoms and against oppression and injustice. There are five nominees, one of which lists five members of the 'Arab Spring', for the prize this year.

As part of the event, each nominee will be represented by students from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, who will give a short presentation and argue the case for the award to be given to this nominee. Following the presentations the floor will be opened for debate, after which the audience will take part in a vote to choose who they believe should receive the award.

Representatives of the European Parliament will convey the result back to the Parliament's Human Rights Sub-Committee, where the next stage of deliberations is due to take place.
A reception will follow the event.


In awarding the Sakharov Prize, the European Parliament honours, in particular, outstanding achievements in the fight to protect freedom of thought and expression against intolerance, fanaticism and hatred. This reflects its conviction that fundamental freedoms include not only the right to life and physical integrity, but also freedom of expression and of the press, two of the most effective means of fighting oppression and key yardsticks by which to judge whether a society is democratic and open. The European Parliament awards the human rights prize, endowed with EUR 50 000, at a formal sitting in Strasbourg which falls on or around 10 December, the day on which on which the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948.

Izzeldin Abuelaish: Palestinian doctor and founder of the Daughters for Life Foundation. He has dedicated his life to peace in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, known to represent a "magical, secret bridge" between the two peoples.

Dzmitry Bandarenka: Belarusian civil activist and member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists. He is one of the co-founders of the Charter'97 civil initiative and co-ordinator of the European Belarus civil campaign.

Boris Pahor: Slovene writer, fighter for freedom of thought, strong opponent of totalitarian regimes, defender of human rights and fundamental freedoms, a great advocate of minority rights and minority languages.

The San José de Apartadó Peace Community: This Colombian community of "campesinos", peasant farmers, has become an internationally recognized symbol of courage, resilience and dedication to the high values of peace and justice, in an environment of brutality and destruction.

Mohamed Bouazizi (Tunisia), Asmaa Mahfouz (Egypt), Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed al-Sanusi (Libya), Razan Zaitouneh (Syria), Ali Farzat (Syria) on behalf of the 'Arab Spring': The 'Arab Spring' is a symbol for all those willing dignity, democracy and fundamental rights in the Arab world. The peaceful demonstrations mobilising all kind of citizens, pro-democracy activists, human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists faced brutal repression from regime security forces in all these countries. The five nominees have contributed and still contribute to radical political changes in their respective countries in support for their struggle for freedom, democracy and the end of authoritarian regimes.


For information on the event, please contact Dr Vinodh Jaichand  at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Tel: +353.91.492819,