Supporting defenders

2020 Sakharov Fellowship for human rights defenders

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The fifth edition of the European Parliament's Sakharov Fellowship was held remotely from 21 October 2020 to 25 November 2020. Its 2020 thematic focus was on women's, LGBTI, migrants' and minorities' rights.

Different mode, equivalent impact

Held in previous years over a two-week programme in Brussels and Venice, the 2020 Sakharov Fellowship was converted into an online edition and consisted of eight once-a-week online sessions. The programme covered comprehensive thematic agenda and was complemented by advocacy opportunities through bilateral meetings with MEPs and relevant EU officials.

Programme

The 2020 Sakharov Fellowship focused on ways to ensure protection and respect of human rights in times of global crises and on preparing the fellows to address related challenges. The exploration of EU and UN mechanisms to support human rights' work was followed by discussions on three specific topics: women's rights, LGBTI and migrants' and minorities' rights.

2020 Sakharov Fellows

The fellows came from Burundi, Brazil, India, Thailand, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Colombia, Belarus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, China, Turkey, Ghana, and Russia. Their fields of human rights activity are diverse, going from women's and children's rights, minority rights, LGBTI rights, environmental defence, migration, forced labour, freedom of speech to political prisoners' rights.

A stronger Sakharov Community

The Sakharov Fellowship Programme aims to empower the next generation of human rights defenders to serve as agents of democratic change in their countries. The Covid-19 pandemic challenged the European Parliament and the Sakharov Community to discover new ways to make this possible, to collaborate, get together, help break barriers, and react swiftly to defend urgent human rights causes.

Sakharov Fellowship 11-23 October 2021 - call for applications

Sakharov fellows at the Global campus for Human Rights in Venice, 2017
The deadline for applications is midnight 20 June 2021 (CET). Successful candidates will receive confirmation by email, latest by 30 July 2021.

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 at the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice. It has been organised annually since 2016 further to an initiative taken by the Sakharov Prize Community 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 Community;

· have the opportunity to maintain links with the work of the European Parliament and continue liaising with EU Delegations in their respective countries.

The Brussels programme focuses on EU policies and tools in support of human rights defenders, accessing funding, 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.

Training at the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice combines academic teaching on international human rights law, instruments and mechanisms with case studies and provides practical tools for improving the work of human rights defenders to effect change on the ground. Lecturers include prominent academics, representatives of leading human rights NGOs, Sakharov Prize laureates and other outstanding human rights practitioners.

The programme will be organised in person in Brussels and Venice if conditions allow it. It may be changed to an on-line format if the sanitary situation requires it.

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 midnight 20 June 2021 (CET). Successful candidates will receive confirmation by email, latest by 30 July 2021. Unsuccessful candidates will not be informed of the reasons why they were not shortlisted or offered a traineeship.

Sakharov Fellowship for human rights defenders

2019 fellows & EP President Antonio Tajani

The European Parliament empowers the next generation of human rights defenders to serve as agents of democratic change in their countries.

The Sakharov Fellowship offers up to 14 human rights defenders from non-EU countries the opportunity to follow a two-week intensive training course, with one week in Brussels and one week on the Global Campus for Human Rights in Venice. The programme has been organised annually since 2016. The idea for the Fellowship came from the Sakharov Prize Community, which proposed it during the 25th Anniversary Conference of the Sakharov Prize.

Under the Sakharov Fellowship training programme, human rights defenders can

• 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

• expand the network of Sakharov fellows to share best practices, disseminate their knowledge and extend awareness of the Sakharov Prize and the Sakharov Prize Community;

• maintain links with the European Parliament and EU Delegations in their countries.

The Brussels programme focuses on: access to funding, communications skills, security challenges facing human rights defenders, and EU policies and tools that support human rights defenders. It also includes meetings with Members of Parliament, officials of the EU institutions and Brussels-based NGOs. The fellows have opportunities to pursue advocacy and networking activities.

In Venice, the fellows enrol in the Venice School of Human Rights alongside international human rights students. The lectures focus on developing knowledge of international human rights law, instruments and mechanisms and on 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 - on their own, or working with an NGO or other organisation. They must have a high level of English, in order to follow and contribute to discussion groups and workshops in Brussels and Venice.

The selection of fellows is based on the criteria mentioned above, as well as gender balance, and the representation of a variety of geographical areas and human rights issues.