Three nominees 2016

The selection panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, comprising independent figures from the world of human rights and chaired by the President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Pedro Agramunt, drew up the shortlist of candidatures (in alphabetical order):

  • Gordana Igrić A journalist from Serbia and an active defender of human rights and media freedom, she reported extensively on war crimes during the Balkan wars and set up the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN. Through her work, she keeps the flame of freedom of speech alive and puts a spotlight on human rights abuses.
  • International Institute of Human Rights –  René Cassin Foundation Since 1969 the Institute has worked for the promotion of human rights and peace through teaching and research. It organises specialised training courses which contribute to the dissemination of the principles of democracy and the rule of law and to the extensive strengthening of guarantees for the protection of human rights, especially in conflict and/or post-conflict zones.
  • Nadia Murad A young, brave Yazidi woman, who managed to flee ISIS in northern Iraq. Today a human rights activist, she brings the plight of the Yazidi community, in particular the forced sexual enslavement and human trafficking of women and children captured by ISIS, to the forefront of international attention.   

Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter

„Once you’re here, however, whether you want to or not, you have to ask the question: does all of this have a meaning, and if so, what?… Ultimately, I can only find an answer – a positive answer – within myself, in my general faith in the meaning of things, in my hope. What, in fact, is man responsible to? What does he relate to? What is the final horizon of his actions, the absolute vanishing point of everything he does, the undeceivable “memory of Being”, the conscience of the world and the final “court of appeal”? What is the decisive standard of measurement, the background or the field of each of his existential experiences? And likewise, what is the most important witness or the secret sharer in his daily conversations with himself, the thing that – regardless of what situation he has been thrown into – he incessantly inquires after, depends upon, and toward which his actions are directed, the thing that, in its omniscience and incorruptibility, both haunts and saves him, the only thing he can trust in and strive for? “

Václav Havel:
Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter, August 7, 1980

What Price Human Rights?