The European Parliament supports human rights

The respect for human rights is one of the European Union's fundamental values. Any violation of these rights affects the democratic principles upon which our society is founded, whether they take place within or outside the EU.  The European Parliament fights such violations through legislative action, including election observation, monthly human rights debates in Strasbourg and by enshrining human rights in its external trade agreements.

The European Parliament also supports human rights through the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, established in 1988.  The prize is awarded to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights across the globe, drawing attention to human rights violations as well as supporting the laureates and their cause.

Oleg Sentsov, Sakharov Prize 2018 laureate


Sakharov Prize 2018 laureate Oleg Sentsov

© Sergei Venyavsky/Getty Images

Oleg Sentsov (1976) is a Ukrainian film director, detained on 10 May 2014 in Simferopol, Crimea, and sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of plotting terrorist acts against Russian 'de facto' rule in Crimea. Amnesty International described the court process as 'an unfair trial before a military court'. In May 2018 Sentsov went on hunger strike.

On 14 June, 2018, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Russia, notably referring to the case of Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov, and demanding that the Russian authorities immediately and unconditionally release Oleg Sentsov and all other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia and on the Crimean peninsula.

Sentsov was sentenced because he opposed the illegal and forced annexation of part of his country by its belligerent neighbour, which was a blatant violation of international law, and Russian international and bilateral commitments. His conviction has become a powerful symbol of the fate of the approximately 70 Ukrainian citizens illegally arrested and convicted to long prison sentences by the Russian occupation forces in the Crimean peninsula after its annexation.

How does the European Parliament support human rights?

In addition to the Sakharov Prize, the European Parliament also supports human rights through concrete political and legislative action.



European Parliament
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