Václav Havel was a dissident, a statesman and a man with dreams. When he addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 1990, as President of his country, he said: ‘Without dreaming of a better Europe we shall never build a better Europe’.
These words left a lasting memory on all of us. This is why the Assembly decided to take on Václav Havel’s legacy by setting up a prize for those who dare to dream of a better world, and strive to make this dream come true.
The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize is awarded each year by the Assembly, in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation, to reward outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights, in Europe and beyond.
Candidates should be individuals, non-governmental organisations or institutions that have made a real difference to the human rights situation of a given group, have been instrumental in uncovering systemic human rights violations, or have successfully mobilised public opinion or the international community for a human rights cause.
The Prize consists of a sum of 60,000 euros, a trophy and a diploma, which are awarded to the Prizewinner, selected by a Panel of independent experts, which I preside.
Previous winners of the Václav Havel Prize include Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski (2013) and imprisoned Azerbaijani human rights defender Anar Mammadli (2014).
The deadline for submitting applications for the 2015 edition of the Prize is 30 April 2015. I look forward to receiving applications from deserving candidates, and to welcoming the winners in Strasbourg for the award ceremony, which will take place later this autumn.
Without dreams, there cannot be a better world.