EP Sakharov Fellowship 2017 for Human Rights Defenders, Brussels/Venice 6-17.6.2017

2017 Sakharov Fellows with President Antonio Tajani

The 2017 Sakharov Fellows come from Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Iraq, Cambodia, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, Tunisia, Turkey and Zambia.

They were selected from applicants from across the world and are active in a wide variety of human rights areas.

Tools and knowledge to bring home

The two-week intensive training programme - at the EP in Brussels and at the European Inter-University Centre (EIUC) in Venice - aimed to further expand the Fellows' knowledge of the EP human rights engagement, help them develop their capacities and advance in  their work as human rights defenders. The programme also raised awareness of the Sakharov Prize and promoted its values. After the training session Fellows share and spread the knowledge and experience acquired in their home countries.

In Brussels, Fellows focused on a number of subjects of common and topical interest, in addition to having participated in an individual tailor-made programme of meetings with MEPs and staff of EU institutions to practise human rights advocacy work and enhance their network.

The Fellows had an opportunity to meet President Antonio Tajani, participated in a debate with Vice-President Ulrike Lunacek, attended and intervened in meetings of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality and the Sub-Committee on Human Rights and visited the House of European History.

At the EIUC's Venice Summer School of Human Rights, Fellows  studied international human rights law and instruments, and learnt how to use these to effect change in their country. 2016 Sakharov Prize Laureate Lamya Haji Bashar and 2005 Laureate Hauwa Ibrahim gave lectures at the Venice School.

An investment in the future

The Sakharov Fellowship Programme is an initiative of the Sakharov Prize Network launched at the 25th Anniversary Conference of the Sakharov Prize in 2013. Beyond the two-week training, Fellows can provide valuable input to Parliament's human rights work and help identify opportunities for human rights action in their respective countries. Close cooperation with EU Delegations ensures that participants can become interlocutors in the EU's daily efforts to engage locally on relevant human rights issues. As the pool of alumni Fellows grows over the years, the range of possible action in promotion of the spirit of the Sakharov Prize widens accordingly.

Sakharov Fellowship 5-17 June 2017 - call for applications

The European Parliament's Sakharov Fellowship offers up to 14 human rights defenders selected from non-EU countries the opportunity to follow a two week intensive training in Brussels and the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) in Venice. It has been organised annually since 2016 further to an initiative taken by the Sakharov Prize Network at the 25th Anniversary Conference of the Sakharov Prize.

Under the Sakharov Fellowship training programme human rights defenders will
•    enhance their knowledge of EU and international human rights frameworks, policies and mechanisms and
•    develop capacities to advocate for and effect positive change to protect human rights.
Beyond the training, Sakharov Fellows will
•    help grow the network of Sakharov Fellows to share best practices, disseminate the acquired knowledge and extend awareness of the Sakharov Prize and the Sakharov Prize Network;
•    have the opportunity to maintain links with the work of the European Parliament and continue liaising with EU Delegations in their respective countries.

The programme in Brussels focuses on EU policies and tools in support of human rights defenders, accessing funding for human rights defenders, developing communications skills, and raising awareness of specific security challenges facing human rights defenders. It further includes meetings with Members of Parliament, officials of the EU institutions and Brussels-based NGOs. The Fellows will also have space for individual advocacy and networking activities.

In Venice, Fellows will be enrolled in the EIUC's Venice School of Human Rights which combines academic teaching and sharing the Fellow's experiences with an international audience of students in human rights. The aim is to develop knowledge of international human rights law, instruments and mechanisms and how to use these to effect change on the ground. Lecturers include prominent academics, representatives of leading human rights NGOs, Sakharov Prize Laureates, and Members of the European Parliament.

Candidates should have a proven record in campaigning for human rights in a NGO or other organisation or in an individual capacity. They must have a high level of English, sufficient to follow and contribute to discussion groups and workshops in Brussels and Venice.

The selection of Fellows is based on the above criteria and the need to ensure gender balance as well as the representation of a variety of geographical areas and human rights issues.

The Fellowship covers return travel from the country of origin, accommodation in Brussels and Venice and a daily living allowance. The deadline for applications is 26 March 2017.