Why is the prize called the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought?

The prize is named after the Soviet scientist, dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989). The European Parliament awards the prize to those who, like Sakharov, dedicate their lives to the peaceful struggle for human rights.

What are the criteria for nominations?

The prize is awarded for a particular achievement in one of the following fields: defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly the right to free expression; safeguarding the rights of minorities; respect for international law; development of democracy and implementation of the rule of law. 'Achievement' means any intellectual or artistic composition or active work in the above fields.

Who makes the nominations?

Nominations for the Sakharov Prize can be made by political groups or by any group of at least 40 MEPs. Individual Members may support only one nominee. Each proposal must be signed and include supporting evidence

How is the final laureate chosen?

Nominations are assessed in a joint meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Development. Following that assessment, the two committees vote to produce a shortlist of three candidates, in alphabetical order. The European Parliament's Conference of Presidents - the body that includes the leaders of the political groups - selects one winner.

What kind of prize does the laureate get?

The prize money is EUR 50 000.
The prize may be awarded to natural persons or to associations or organisations, irrespective of whether they have legal personality. The nationality, place of residence and seat of the candidates do not matter.
The laureates give Parliament instructions about the account that should receive the prize money.

What happens after the award of the prize?

The European Parliament engages with the laureates in the Sakharov Prize Community, helping them defend their human rights causes and supporting them when they are at risk or under threat. As Ambassadors of freedom of thought, the laureates are encouraged to continue promoting universal human rights alongside the European Parliament.



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