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Over 30 years, Sakharov Prize becomes one of the leading human rights prizes in the world


Justice & Home Affairs
On the occasion of the two days of conferences organised in Brussels on the 30th anniversary of the Sakharov Prize, awarded every year by the European Parliament to human rights activists around the world, the S&D Group reaffirms its full support for this award as one of the most visible tools in our fight for freedom of thoughts and democracy all over the world. 
S&D MEP Antonio Panzeri, chair of the human rights subcommittee, said:
“The European Parliament can be proud of its Sakharov Prize. In 30 years of its existence, it has become one of the most important human right prizes, not only in Europe but also in the world. Its laureates include such personalities like Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, Raif Badawi or Nasrin Sotoudeh and many others who devoted their lives to defend fundamental freedoms and human dignity. By awarding them with the Sakharov Prize, the European Parliament acknowledged not only their unshakable commitment and courageous actions, but was also able to bring to light atrocities like the use of rape as a weapon of war and promote actions such as the education of girls as a tool to empower all women. 
“Many of the Sakharov Prize laureates are today with us, but our thoughts go also to those laureates who cannot be with us, those who passed away and those who are still deprived of their freedom. We reiterate our call to free Raif Badawi and Hu Jia.
The 30th anniversary of the Sakharov Prize coincides with the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders. This should allow for the engagement of human rights defenders to be emphasised as a shared EU-UN priority. We have a great treasure in the world represented by human rights defenders: we must protect and defend this wealth”.