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Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

Václav Havel Prize 2020

Due to the COVID19 pandemic and the related sanitary situation in Europe – the procedure leading to the selection of the laureat of the Prize has had to be postponed (see calendar on the right)

The Prize aims to reward "outstanding civil society action in defending human rights in Europe and beyond".

Candidates should have made a difference to the human rights situation of a given group, been instrumental in uncovering systemic violations on a large scale or have mobilised public opinion or the international community for a given cause.

The Prize, consisting of a sum of €60,000, a trophy and a diploma, is awarded annually by the Parliamentary Assembly, in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation. It will be awarded on 25 January 2021 in Strasbourg.

Nominations should be sent to the Parliamentary Assembly by e-mail to: hrprize.pace@coe.int, using the form available on the Prize website. They should be signed by at least five sponsors and submitted in either English or French.

Since 2013, the Prize has been awarded successively to Ales Bialiatski (Belarus), Anar Mammadli (Azerbaijan), Ludmilla Alexeeva (Russian Federation), Nadia Murad (Iraq), Murat Arslan (Turkey) and Oyub Titiev (Russian Federation).

Last year the Prize was awarded jointly to Uyghur intellectual Ilham Tohti from China and the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR), which brings together young people from across the Balkans to promote reconciliation.

Timetable for 2020

  • 15 January 2020: call for candidates;
  • 30 June 2020: deadline for reception of candidatures;
  • December 2020/January 2021: first meeting of the Selection Panel in Prague;
  • 24 January 2021: Second meeting of the Selection Panel in Strasbourg which will select the prizewinner;
  • 25 January 2021: Award Ceremony in the Council of Europe;
  • 27 January 2021: Conference in Prague in honour of the laureate of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize;

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.