2019 Laureates of the Vaclac Havel Prize for Creative Dissent announced

May 15, 2019

Today, 15 May 2019, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) announced the three recipients of the 2019 Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent. For more on this and other awards, see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/vaclav-havel-prize-for-creative-dissent. The laureates are Ramy Essam, an Egyptian musician in exile, Rap Against Dictatorship, an anti-authoritarian musical group from Thailand, and Rayma Suprani, a Venezuelan political cartoonist. More on these exceptional artists:

Ramy Essam is an Egyptian musician currently living in exile. Essam has been called “the voice of the Egyptian revolution” due to his role in the 2011 protests in Tahrir Square, which resulted in the ousting of Egypt’s then-president Hosni Mubarak. He wrote and performed songs to motivate the tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square. As a result of his association with the 2011 uprising, Essam has been barred from performing in Egypt and his passport has been revoked. Essam was awarded the Freedom to Create prize in 2011 and the Spirit of Folk award in 2017.


Rap Against Dictatorship (RAD) is a musical group from Thailand that uses its platform to criticize the country’s military junta and its suppression of basic human rights. The music video for the group’s song, “Prathet Ku Mee” (“What My Country’s Got”) has more than 63 million views on YouTube. The song criticizes this year’s disputed general election, which was the first to take place since the military coup in 2014.



Rayma Suprani is a Venezuelan political cartoonist who was persecuted for her work by the late President Hugo Chávez, as well as his successor, Nicolás Maduro. For nearly 20 years, Suprani worked at El Universal, one of Venezuela’s largest daily publications. She faced criticism from state-controlled media for her satirical cartoons. In September 2014, Suprani published a cartoon that mocked the deterioration of Venezuela’s healthcare system, which many interpreted as a larger criticism of the legacy of Chávez. The cartoon was censored by the government and Suprani lost her job. She spoke about her work at the 2015 Oslo Freedom Forum.


For last year’s winners, see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/04/12/havel-prize-for-creative-dissent-2018-two-of-three-winners-announced-today/

The laureates will receive the award at a ceremony held on Wednesday, 29 May during the 2019 Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway and will be broadcast live at oslofreedomforum.com

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5 Responses to “2019 Laureates of the Vaclac Havel Prize for Creative Dissent announced”

  1. […] Last week I announced the 3 finalists for the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/05/15/2019-laureates-of-the-vaclac-havel-prize-for-creative-d…%5D and now to the band’s official page states that it has been awarded the top place. Rap Against […]

  2. […] number of memorials have been erected in his honor, including the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent, The Václav Havel Library, The Václav Havel Building of the European Parliament, and a number of […]

  3. […] Habash, 24, had been in prison since March 2018 over directing a song mocking Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. “Shadi got very sick in his prison cell, his [fellow] inmates cried for help for some time, but guards and officers had not intervened until his last breath,” said human rights advocate Abdelrahman Ayyash.  Ramy Essam, who performed the song, said “Shady Habash has died. Shady was the kindest and bravest of people. He never hurt anyone. May God have mercy on him,” in a Facebook post. (re Essam see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/05/15/2019-laureates-of-the-vaclac-havel-prize-for-creative-d… […]

  4. […] number of memorials have been erected in his honour, including the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent, The Václav Havel Library, The Václav Havel Building of the European Parliament, and a number of […]

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