Shortlisted Nominees 2017

The selection panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, comprising independent figures from the world of human rights and chaired by the Vice-President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Sir Roger Gale, drew up the shortlist of candidatures in Prague today. The shortlisted nominees, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Murat Arslan (Turkey) The nominee, in detention since 2016, is a well-known and reputed judge. 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.

Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter

„If I consider the problem as that which the world is turning me into – that is, as a tiny screw in a giant machine, deprived of human identity – then there is really nothing I can do. Obviously I cannot put a stop to the destruction of the globe, the growing stupidity of nations and the repoduction of thousands of new thermonuclear bombs. If, however, I consider it as that which each of us originally is, or rahter what each of us – irrespective of the state of the world – has the basic potential to become, which is to say an autonomous human being, capable of acting responsibly to and for the world, then of course there is a great deal I can do.“

Václav Havel:
Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter, March 6, 1982

The unbearable lightness of evilVáclav Havel’s Prague