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Sakharov BannerImages of children washed up on a beach, newly erected border fences, and citizens welcoming arriving refugees in train stations have been populating our screens. They appeal to our compassion, but they also raise warnings of a populist backlash. This year’s Sakharov debate looks at Europe’s refugee crisis, and the response of the EU and its Member States to it. What remedies have been sought and why has an adequate response proved so elusive? Why and how have our various governments, and societies reacted so differently? How can one member state take in 1.5 million people and others next to none? What arguments are being made in favour of helping, or not helping, refugees from the Middle East and elsewhere?
Sakharov Banner

"Uncertain Future: Rights and Citizenship in post-Brexit Britain"

Sakharov Debate, London, 2 December 2016

Sakharov Prize word cloudAndrei Sakharov - Sakharov Prize word cloud
Andrei Sakharov

Brexit is throwing up myriad pressing questions, not least among them the residence and citizenship rights for EU nationals in the run-up to withdrawal and after. As things stand, it is unclear what criteria may be applied to determine who will be allowed to stay, on what basis and with what guarantees. The same applies to UK citizens living in other parts of the EU.

The government has said there will be no material change in the status of EU nationals while the UK remains a member of the Union but how might things change thereafter? Have the rights of EU citizens already been eroded since the referendum? How will any post-Brexit rights be enforced and what will the UK human rights regime look like?

Hashtag for the event: #SakharovUK



BBC News Presenter



Mary Hoenyball MEP
Mary Hoenyball MEP

Mary Honeyball MEP, (S&D Group; Labour)

Dr Virginia Mantouvalou
Dr Virginia Mantouvalou

Dr Virginia MANTOUVALOU, Reader in Human Rights and Labour Law, Director of Graduate Research Studies, UCL Institute for Human Rights

Dr Ruvi Ziegler
Dr Ruvi Ziegler

Dr Ruvi Ziegler, New Europeans Citizenship Unit; Lecturer in Law and Programme Director, Global LLMs in Human rights, International law, and Advanced Legal Studies, University of Reading School of Law

Schona Jolly
Schona Jolly

Schona Jolly, Barrister, Cloisters


The European Parliament UK Office is organizing a debate to mark the awarding of the Sakharov Prize. The debate is open to the public and is hosted jointly with UCL European Institute.


Sakharov Prize Playlist

Watch our video of the Sakharov Debate 2015 "The Refugee Crisis: Too little compassion or too much?" and other videos on our playlist.


How is the Sakharov Prize winner chosen?

Choice of Sakharov winnerChoice of Sakharov winner process - infographic
Choice of Sakharov winner
More on laureates....

Sakharov Prize 2016 Laureates