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Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

Three candidates shortlisted for the 2022 Václav Havel Prize

The selection panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, which rewards outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights in Europe and beyond, has today announced the shortlist for the 2022 Award.

Meeting in Prague today, the panel – made up of independent figures from the world of human rights and chaired by Tiny Kox, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) – decided to shortlist the following three nominees, in alphabetical order:

Vladimir Kara-Murza, Russian Federation

The nominee is a Russian politician, author and historian. He is one of the opposition leaders in the Russian Federation, and co-founder of the Russian Anti-War Committee established to oppose Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Mr Kara-Murza was arrested in April 2022 and faces up to 10 years imprisonment.

Rainbow Coalition/Invalid Campaign for LGBTQIA+ rights, Hungary

The nominee is a coalition of human rights organisations, LGBTQIA+ rights groups and other civic movements. The Rainbow Coalition has been campaigning and mobilising support for the defence of LGBTQIA+ rights in Hungary.

Ukraine 5 AM Coalition

The nominee is a coalition of Ukrainian human rights organisations whose aim is to uncover, document, collect and preserve evidence, while raising awareness of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine during the ongoing war of aggression by the Russian Federation.

The overall winner of the 2022 Prize is due to be announced at the opening of PACE’s Autumn plenary session in Strasbourg on 10 October.

Announcing the panel’s choice, the PACE President said that the Council of Europe has worked since its creation to safeguard freedom, the rule of law and social justice on the continent. “Every year, the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize celebrates concrete, courageous and determined action by women, men and organisations who defend human rights. Their courage and determination in standing up for basic principles of justice and fairness deserve our profound respect and gratitude,” he added.

The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize is awarded each year by PACE, in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation. It consists of a sum of 60,000 euros, a trophy and a diploma.

Since its creation, the Prize has been awarded in turn to Belarusian human rights activist Maria Kalesnikava (2021), Loujain Alhathloul (2020), jointly to Ilham Tohti and the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (2019), Oyub Titiev (2018), Murat Arslan (2017), Nadia Murad (2016), Ludmilla Alexeeva (2015), Anar Mammadli (2014) and Ales Bialiatski (2013).

Draft Timetable for 2022

  • 17 January: Call for candidates
  • 30 June: Deadline for reception of candidatures
  • 6 September: First meeting of the Selection Panel in Prague
  • 12 September: Meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly which will take note of the 3 shortlisted candidates
  • 9 October: Second meeting of the Selection Panel in Strasbourg which will select the prizewinner
  • 10 October: Award Ceremony in the Council of Europe
  • 12 October: Conference in Prague in honour of the laureate of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

Conference programme

Submission of nominations

Nominations for the Prize should be addressed to the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly and be signed by at least five sponsors, other than the nominee, on the special form to be found at the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize website.

Nominations shall provide details of the nominee's work in the defence of human rights and specify the reasons why the nominee's work can be considered to be outstanding. Relevant supporting documents should be provided. Nominations should be submitted in either of the two official languages of the Council of Europe, English or French.

Who can be nominated?

Individuals or non-governmental institutions active in the defence of human rights can be nominated for the Prize.

The Selection Panel

The Selection Panel of the Prize is composed of the President of the Assembly (or a person designated by him/her) and six independent persons (who cannot be current members of the Assembly) with recognised moral standing in the field of human rights.

The Panel will examine the nominations, submit a shortlist of three nominees to the Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly for information and, subsequently, designate the Prizewinner for the year in question.

Three Panel members are appointed by the Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly and three Panel members by the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation. The six independent experts are appointed for a two-year period, renewable twice.

The Panel is chaired by the President of the Assembly or the person designated by him/her.

The Award Ceremony

The Prize is awarded at a ceremony which takes place in Strasbourg on the Monday of the Autumn Session of the Parliamentary Assembly, usually in late September or early October.

The name of the Prizewinner is announced by the President of the Parliamentary Assembly.

The former Czech First Lady, Dagmar Havlova, is invited to honour the ceremony with her presence.

Conference in honour of the Prizewinner

The Václav Havel Library will organise, at a later date, an international conference in Prague in honour of the Prizewinner.