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PACE’s 2011 Human Rights Prize awarded to the Russian NGO 'Committee against Torture'

Strasbourg, 11.04.2011 – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) today decided to award its 2011 Human Rights Prize to the Russian NGO “Committee against Torture” (Komitet Protiv Pytok),  in recognition of the organisation’s key role in assisting victims of serious human rights abuses.

This is the second time the 10,000-euro biennial Prize, which honours “outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe”, has been awarded.

A panel including leading figures from the world of human rights recommended the Committee against Torture from among ten individuals and organisations nominated for the prize, praising its “effective independent investigations” alongside official state investigations, especially in the Chechen Republic.

“By ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee has contributed to the reinforcement of the Rule of Law and has made an important contribution to the fight against impunity,” the panel said.

The Prize, consisting of a plaque and a diploma as well as the winning sum, will be awarded at a ceremony in Strasbourg during the Assembly’s June 2011 session to coincide with a special debate held every two years on “the state of human rights in Europe”.

The winner of the first Prize in 2009 was British Irish Rights Watch, an NGO which has been monitoring the human rights dimension of the conflict in Northern Ireland since 1990.

Nominations for the third edition of the prize, proposed by at least five sponsors, must reach the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly by 30 September 2012. They should provide details of the nominee’s activities in defence of human rights and specify why they can be considered to be outstanding.

PACE Communication Division: tel. +33 (0)3 88 41 31 93, e-mail: [email protected]