Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

Václav Havel Human Rights Prize Václav Havel Human Rights Prize Václav Havel Human Rights Prize Václav Havel Human Rights Prize Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

Václav Havel Prize 2017: Human rights defenders from Austria, Hungary and Turkey shortlisted

The selection panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2017, comprising independent figures known for their expertise in the field of human rights, today drew up the shortlist of candidatures in Prague. The shortlisted nominees, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Murat Arslan (Turkey)
    The nominee, in detention since 2016, is a former well-known and reputed Rapporteur of the Turkish Constitutional Court and President of the now dissolved Association for the Union of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV). He has always been a supporter of the independence of the judiciary.
  • Hungarian Helsinki Committee
    A non-governmental human rights organisation founded in 1989 and based in Budapest, it carries out a broad range of activities in the area of human rights with a particular focus on access to justice and the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons.
  • Father Georg Sporschill (Austria)
    A Jesuit who has devoted his life to the care of the most vulnerable, notably children. He has set up an association (Elijah) which carries out numerous projects in Austria, Bulgaria, Republic of Moldova and Romania.

Chairing the meeting of the selection panel, Sir Roger Gale, the most senior Vice-President of the Assembly, said: "the jury chose the candidates from among a long and well-qualified list of nominees, fully respecting the spirit and the principles of the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize".

The winner of the prize, which rewards individuals or organisations judged to have undertaken outstanding action in defence of human rights, is due to be announced at the opening of the autumn plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on 9 October 2017.

The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, created in 2013, is awarded each year by the PACE, in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation, and the support of the Czech Government. The Prize consists of a sum of €60 000, a trophy and a diploma. The 2016 Prize went to Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad.

The Prize

The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize is awarded each year by the PACE 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.

The Prize is awarded in memory of Václav Havel, playwright, opponent of totalitarianism, architect of the Velvet Revolution of 1989, President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic and an enduring symbol of opposition to despotism. Nominations of any individual, non-governmental organisation or institution working to defend human rights are taken into consideration. The Prize consists of a sum of €60 000, a trophy and a diploma.

On 25 March 2013, the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize was launched at a ceremony in Prague with the signature of the Co-operation Agreement by the President of the Assembly, Jean-Claude Mignon, the Director of the Václav Havel Library, Marta Smolíková, and the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Charta 77 Foundation, František Janouch, in the presence of Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize replaces the Assembly Human Rights Prize, which was created in 2007 and awarded every two years, first in 2009 to "British Irish Human Rights Watch" and then, in 2011, to the Russian NGO "Committee against Torture".

Václav Havel Library
Charta 77 Foundation