European Parliament and Glasgow Human Rights Network discussion event on the Sakharov Prize
The European Parliament's Sakharov Prize is awarded annually and intended to honour exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression. This year, MEPs put forward five nominees for the award.
In an event that mirrored the process by which the winner is chosen, students studying for a Masters in Human Rights and International Politics at Glasgow University gave presentations on each of the nominees. These presentations were based on documentation provided by the European Parliament and the students' own research, which was extremely thorough and uncovered a great deal of interesting and thought-provoking detail.
The discussion following the presentations touched on a number of issues including the relative merits of each case, a number of suggestions for cases that perhaps deserved to be on the shortlist but were not, reflections on how politicised the Sakharov Prize is and the legacy and value of human rights prizes. The students also reflected on the broader context in which the nominees acted and how the winners might best use the endowment that accompanies the Sakharov Prize.
A vote concluded the debate and, although there was no overall majority, representatives of the 'Arab Spring' movement were declared the winners, mirroring the decision by MEPs which had been taken a few days earlier. The award ceremony is held in the European Parliament in Strasbourg in December.
Click here for more information about the 2011 Sakharov Prize and here for more information about the Glasgow Human Rights Network.